That story has been played out over the last year. The question now, as we near the opening bell of free agency, is what is the market for A.P.?
It may not be as robust as you might think. Three years ago, a case could be made for the other 31 teams being interested if Peterson was available. Now about the best we can come up with is about half the league and even a couple of them may be reaches.
For football gamblers who have been in a malaise since placing bets on the Super Bowl – and its improbable gambling turnaround from the third quarter to the end – they need their gambling fix.
Always looking to meet the needs of fans, here are our own opening betting odds as to what team will land Peterson.
New England Patriots (3:1) – If Peterson is going to play for a discount, this would likely be the only spot he would take under-market value. When asked about Brett Favre, Peterson instinctively lights up when talking about 2009. He wants a championship and, with LaGarrette Blount likely leaving via free agency, the shot at a ring could make him swallow financial pride. You can’t make New England too fat of a betting line in any situation.
Oakland Raiders (4:1) – There is some growing steam that Peterson would be the kind of player that would thrive in Oakland. With big back Latavius Murray being allowed to leave via free agency, the Raiders are close to being a Super Bowl contender and Peterson would become an immediate fan favorite of the Black Hole and, at this point in his career, Peterson is looking for love from the fans All Day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9:2) – Peterson himself mentioned this as a landing spot in the much over-hyped “First Take” ambush of Peterson where fans of the Giants in the studio propped the G-Men as an ideal landing spot. Peterson mentioned Tampa Bay without prompting. The key here is that the Bucs re-signed Doug Martin, who checked into rehab after the season, which reports claim could void his contract. If the Bucs exercise that option, Tampa Bay climbs to the top of the charts.
Minnesota Vikings (5:1) – The Wilf family has showed loyalty to veterans in the past. Jared Allen was allowed to play out the onerous salary-cap hit in his final season with the Vikings. The team restructured A.P.’s contract to give him more guaranteed money after paying him the entire time he was on the Commissioner’s Exempt List the previous year. The only likely way the band stays together is if Peterson checks the temperature of the water and finds little to nothing to his liking and the Vikings will pay him to stay at home and finish his career with the team that drafted him.
Green Bay Packers (7:1) – Never underestimate the bitterness of Sconnies. They’ve kissed and made up with Brett Favre, but there are still scars. The sight of A.P. in green and gold to hard-core Vikings fans would be vomit-inducing. When your leading rusher is a wide receiver – his No. 88 bears witness to that – the revenge factor with a good run-blocking offensive line can’t be dismissed.
Dallas Cowboys (8:1) – Personally, I think this would be ridiculous. Jerry Jones loves Peterson and he would take an incentive-laden deal, but it would likely sour quickly if he only gets 10 carries a game when Zeke Elliott is getting 15 to 25. Jones is a Hall of Famer who, by now, should know you don’t bring a potential moody veteran in a limited role he’s never done and expect harmony.
New York Giants (9:1) – The only reason this betting line is so low is because everyone else is talking about it. I wouldn’t touch this betting line at 20:1 because Eli Manning lines up in the shotgun as much as any QB in the league. Peterson has never been asked to line up consistently alongside his QB and, when he has, he doesn’t like it. But, New York is what it is and they have a need for a running back who can close out games.
Detroit Lions (11:1) – The Lions are a wild card. They have a franchise QB and a solid group of receivers. But, their running backs have been hit-and-miss ever since Barry Sanders hung it up. Most think Detroit made the playoffs by smoke and mirrors last year and are just as likely to go 6-10 as 10-6 next year. Peterson knows their defense and that could play against them.
Denver Broncos (13:1) – If the Broncos are going to go with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as their quarterbacks, like the Vikings, they have a defense strong enough to keep them in every game and G.M. John Elway knows how Hall of Fame players with work ethic respond to being told they’re done. A sleeper choice, but a surprisingly good fit if the price is right.
Washington Redskins (15:1) – Another sleeper candidate, but, given the current condition of the front office in making snap decisions, this may be a longer shot than it appears. But, if Daniel Snyder is making the call, all bets should be off. No owner in league history has eaten more big-money, multi-year, high-guarantee contracts – to players and coaches – than Snyder. He is the king of Dead Money and a wild card to step up with the improbable three-year, $30 million deal. Never underestimate Snyder’s competitive lunacy.
New York Jets (18:1) – The Jets are no strangers to bringing in veteran running backs to run the offense – LaDainian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones and Matt Forte in recent years. The Jets are jettisoning veteran talent, so, like they’ve done in the past, they will have to overspend on past-their-prime talent to land them. If Adrian just wants a big check, he’ll go to the rotten side of the Big Apple.
Houston Texans (20:1) – Hometown discount? The Texans may have to commit free-agent resources to admit the Brock Osweiler mistake. Lamar Miller did fine last year and is due a ton of cash. Doesn’t sound like match made in heaven.
Kansas City Chiefs (22:1) – Jamaal Charles is leaving and our own beloved Chilly (a.k.a. Brad Childress) has Andy Reid’s ear. Considering the makeup of the Chiefs offense, Peterson could potentially make sense.
Baltimore Ravens (24:1) – Steve Smith serves as testament to Ozzie Newsome bringing in the right overaged guy to make a critical difference. It isn’t likely, but can’t be dismissed.
Seattle Seahawks (25:1) – Seattle has been salty ever since the Pacific Northwest learned what “poison pill” meant. The Seahawks have consistently invested in Vikings – typically at their own peril – and Pete Carroll might get Beast Mode sentimental and figure he can squeeze a couple years out of the big dog in the yard.
Philadelphia Eagles (28:1) – Only because they don’t have a featured back worth calling a featured back. It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, so Carson Wentz might be able to use some heat off his No-Dak back.
The Remaining 16 Teams (30:1) – There may be a team off the radar that steps up. But, it’s hard to make a case for any of them.
There you have it. He’s going somewhere and the NFL machine is ready to pump out jerseys to accommodate his landing spot. Don’t get your popcorn ready. Get your credit card ready.
- When is winning actually losing? When you’re conducting a coin flip for a first-round pick you don’t have. The Vikings and Colts tossed a coin to determine who had the 14th and 15th picks of the draft, but, since the Vikings traded their first-round pick, they actually wanted to loss the toss because, with a loss, they would have a higher pick in the second round. Instead, the Vikings “won” the toss, so their first pick is scheduled for No. 48 overall. Had they lost, they would have picked at No. 47.
- The Vikings will host a regional Combine today at Winter Park. Regional Combines are held to allow players who weren’t invited to Indianapolis to be tested and evaluated. The data from those workouts is made available to all 32 teams.
- The Vikings are expected to tender exclusive rights free agent Jeremiah Sirles to a one-year, $690,000 contract for the 2017 season, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Peterson was an interview subject that was out of the realm of the usual this week. A reporter for FOX 26 in Houston was doing a man-on-the-street piece on road rage when he came upon Peterson and asked him the questions that he was asking other random Houstonians. Peterson answered the questions and, when it concluded, the reporter asked him his name and he responded, “Adrian Peterson.” The reporter stammered “That Adrian Peterson?” and Peterson acknowledged it was him and the two shared a laugh.
- Chad Greenway is expected to let the Vikings know by Tuesday whether he plans to go through with his intended retirement. The Vikings are looking to have a decision by the start of free agency so they know if they need to fill another vacant position on the team. Greenway is set to become a free agent.