The Arizona Cardinals running game could use some help and there could be plenty of potential suitors available.
At the top of the list are none other than Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray.
Of course, both Peterson and Murray are still under contract with their respective teams – the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys – but both have been strongly rumored to end up on the open market.
Peterson’s days in Minnesota could be numbered due to the child abuse incident last year that led to him missing 15 games in 2014. Peterson’s battle with the NFL is quite a fluid situation and also quite a distraction to an improving Vikings squad. It might be so much of a distraction that the team decides to part ways with the once dominant running back.
Meanwhile, Murray should still have plenty of wear left on his tires, but historically the output of running backs fall at an alarming rate. Yes, Murray is just 27 years of age, but dreaded drop off at the age of 30 has kept the Cowboys from committing to the dynamic running back and will likely scare other teams away as well.
The Cardinals, however, might be willing to take a chance and roll the dice.
Arizona has a roster in place to win now – so long as QB Carson Palmer makes it back to the field in 2015 which as of now is the plan.
On the offensive side of the ball, Arizona has a legendary receiver in Larry Fitzgerald teamed up with a pair of drastically different wideouts in Michael Floyd and John Brown. Each receiver brings a unique skill set and the trio complements each other greatly.
The Cardinals’ offensive line was much improved a year ago, which has been an area that’s plagued them for years.
Defensively, the team may need to replace a key player or two, but there are several cornerstones already on the depth chart.
All that's missing is a running game.
RB Andre Ellington, a fan favorite, is to be admired but the undersized runner just doesn’t have what it takes to be an every-down back in the NFL. Ellington played through numerous injuries last season but eventually landed on IR leaving Arizona with an even thinner situation at running back.
By the end of the season, which just so happened to be in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Cardinals running game was being carried by Kerwynn Williams – someone who most diehards in Arizona hadn’t heard of until he emerged from the shadows in Week 13.
When dissecting the potential risk of bringing in either Peterson or Murray, both players would be enticing pieces of the puzzle for coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim.
Murray will eventually run out of gas, but still has at least three more seasons to perform at an elite level. Windows of winning can be extremely narrow in the NFL and the Cardinals chances are now. Not to mention that the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers remain formidable opponents and the NFC West once again could prove to be one of the toughest in the league.
As for Peterson, well it seems that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure, what happened with his child was unacceptable but given when it happened in the timeline of the NFL’s myriad of domestic issues, Peterson’s story was magnified and scrutinized to levels never seen before. Peterson can still play at a high level and he’ll be entering 2015 fresher than ever with something to prove.
The bottom line is that Arizona wants to win and wants to win now. The potential addition of Peterson or Murray would certainly help the Cardinals accomplish that feat and ultimately be worth the splurge.
Will the Cardinals splurge on a running back?
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