The Curious Case of Adrian Peterson

By Alex Yayla
Mar. 15, 2017

Adrian Peterson is one of the greatest running backs the NFL has ever seen. He is one of 7 players in history to run for over 2000 yards in 1 season, gaining the 2nd most yardage ever in a season (2097 yards) only behind Eric Dickerson (2105 yards), in his MVP year. That MVP year came also only one season after he tore his ACL and MCL in a late December game, ending his season right there. There's something to be said about a running back who takes that kind of punishment, coming back from a torn ACL and MCL to not only win the NFL MVP award but amass 2097 yard on the ground. Simply amazing.

But this was all a few seasons ago. Peterson is older now, past 30, and coming off an LCL sprain that held him out of all but 3 games last season. His age and health concerns, as well as salary requests, have led the Vikings to let him test his market in free agency, and to some surprise, he hasn't gotten many bites. So where will Adrian Peterson end up?

The Raiders are an obvious choice, as they have let their starting RB Latavius Murray test the market as well. They didn't seem pleased with his 4.0 ypc average last season running behind the leagues 2nd best offensive line, behind only Dallas, and rookies Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington both put up better ypc numbers than Murray did. But is Peterson the answer here? I'm not sure, because of what is going on through his mind. Peterson is no longer a 3 down back, but has he realized that yet? If the Raiders were to bring him in as a 2 down starter and have Richard or Washington come in on passing downs, it wouldn't be such a crazy idea. But if Peterson is looking for a 3 down gig, the Raiders would be wise to move away from the name, because the name and the player are no longer one and the same.

The Patriots are also a choice, in my opinion, because of their situation involving Legarrette Blount. Blount has been very successful playing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots for the past 2 seasons, but not as a 3 down starter. The Pats use Blount on short yardage and goal line situations, and have talented players like Dion Lewis and James White as their passing down backs. Blount is rumored to want more than the Patriots would like to offer him, so he could potentially walk, giving the Pats an opening at the RB spot. Again, if Peterson is looking for a 3 down gig, this isn't the way to go, but if he is open to the 2 down gig, and willing to take a paycut, the Pats might just swoop in and sign him for cheap, adding to their already stellar off-season additions.

The Packers are another team that Peterson could potentially move to, and they have the biggest hole at the RB position. Their starter last year, Eddie Lacy, couldn't make it past 5 games before suffering ankle injuries, adding to his weight issues that have plagued him since he entered the league. After Lacy went down, the Packers went through a carousel of backs ranging from WR Ty Montgomery, backup RB James Starks, rookie Don Jackson, and they even signed Christine Michael towards the end of the season, but none of these guys were an answer. The Packers let Lacy walk this summer and he signed with the Seahawks yesterday for a 1 year deal. The history behind the Packers and the Vikings is well known, as they are bitter division rivals and the two teams and fanbases really just don't like each other. Adrian Peterson could potentially pull a reverse Brett Favre and join the division rival Packers, where he would play the Vikings twice a year, and most probably have a better chance at going deep into the postseason with star QB Aaron Rodgers running the show. Peterson doesn't necessarily fix all of the issues at RB for the Packers, but he would be a great first step. 

No matter his age or health concerns, I'm sure Peterson will latch onto a team at some point this summer. Where do you think he'll end up?