This may come as unsavory news to Minnesota Vikings, but it seems more likely that Adrian Peterson isn’t going to be a member of the 2017 Vikings. Considering he has missed 29 of the last 49 games, Vikings fans are used to Sundays (and Mondays and the occasional Thursday) without Peterson.
For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that of the 49 games of the Mike Zimmer Administration, in the 20 that included Peterson, the team had a record of 14-6. In the 29 that didn’t, they have a record of 12-17.
Peterson’s representatives would be wise to Power Point that aspect of his importance to a franchise.
If Peterson doesn’t return to the Vikings, what would the market be for a Hall of Fame running back. A year ago, it could be argued that the majority of the 31 other teams in the league would be willing to take on Peterson.
Now? A.P. may have to settle for a prove-it, incentive-laden deal, which may well pay off handsomely because opponents don’t like Peterson when he is written off.
So where’s the market? Let’s look at the realistic potential suitors – from the most objectionable on down.
Green Bay – The Packers have a guy wearing No. 88 as their go-to running back. Playing Randall Cobb as a de facto running back got him hurt. The Packers don’t often bring in spendy outsiders, but, when they do, it usually works – from Reggie White to Charles Woodson to Julius Peppers. A green and gold Peterson jersey would sell tons and Packers fans are largely bitter types that would glory in retribution for Brett Favre – although the hatred can’t possibly be as high.
Detroit – Nobody had more than 92 carries (Theo Riddick) and he is ideally a third-down back. He also led the team in rushing with 357 yards. As a playoff team that lost four straight, fans old enough to remember Barry Sanders would relish All Day coming to town and he would help give a limping run game some legitimacy to go with Matthew Stafford.
New York Giants – Paul Perkins is the future, but head coach Ben McAdoo is no stranger to the Peterson, having cut his teeth in the NFC North. Peterson in New York would be fun and could happen … one way or another.
Tampa Bay – Doug Martin is in rehab and Peterson likely would be open to a warm-weather, grass-field team that wouldn’t provide an abundance of temperature extremes.
Carolina – The Panthers overpaid DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart for years and both found it difficult to play 16 games. After being humbled from a 17-2 season that ended at the Super Bowl down to a 6-10 record, Riverboat Ron’s leash is getting tighter.
New England – Bill Belichick got decent production out of a future Ring of Honor guy in 2007, why not snatch up the other object of Minnesota affection a decade later?
Baltimore – There is a rabid fan base that had good luck with veteran Vikings – from Matt Birk to Mike Wallace. A short-term, incentive-based deal could tip the balance of power in the always-bloody AFC North.
New York Jets – Matt Forte played opposite Peterson for his entire career and was never viewed as being better than A.P. – the only Adrian Peterson that Forte was better than was an unfortunately-named teammate (Adrian Peterson). Todd Bowles needs to save a job and the Jets have a history of snatching up former legends – Moss, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brett Favre, etc. – so why not the Jets?
Kansas City – Brad Childress earned a contract extension due in no small part to Peterson’s largesse. He has Andy Reid’s ear and, if K.C. moves on from Jamaal Charles, Peterson could have a new, young backup band waiting for their chance.
Oakland – A Davis still owns that team, right?
Indianapolis – The least objectionable and potentially the most likely. The Colts allowed Frank Gore to have two-thirds of the carries for the entire offense – and he rewarded that with a 1,000-yard season. If Peterson wants love, Indiana is more than willing to boost that ego.
Peterson may be gone from Minnesota, but he isn’t ready to ride off (on a camel) into the sunset. Odds are, he still has some good football left in him. But, where will he land?
- With Miami losing Sunday, the Vikings now know what pick they’re getting in the third round. The Vikings cut a trade with Miami last year during the draft that netted them a third- a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft. With their loss to Pittsburgh, Miami’s third-round pick will be the 86th overall – six picks after the Vikings’ third-round pick at No. 80. The fourth-round pick has yet to be determined, because Miami may receive a fourth-round compensatory pick and, by the terms of the trade, the Vikings will receive the lower of Miami’s fourth-round picks if they have more than one.
- Last weekend’s four games were all decided by 13 points or more, making it the most lopsided wild card round since 1981.
- All four home teams won over the weekend. As Vikings fans may painfully remember, all four home teams lost in the wild card round last year.