It would appear that former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson isn’t waiting as patiently to sign with a team as he indicated he would be when he posted on social media that he is in no hurry to sign with a team. After meeting for six hours with the New England Patriots earlier this week, but leaving Boston without a contract, Peterson has another visit scheduled.
Peterson is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints next week as the Saints look to replace Tim Hightower, who left via free agency to play with San Francisco.
The Peterson odyssey has been getting stranger all the time. He was informed by the Vikings that they would be moving on when the team refused to pick up his $18 million contract for 2017. Since then, if you’re a fan or Peterson, the month that has ensued has been humbling.
He went for a visit to Seattle and there was some positive steam that, given the offensive style of the Seahawks, there was a decent chance he would sign there. Instead, to the surprise of many, Seattle passed on Peterson to sign former Packer Eddie Lacy, going from Beast Mode to Feast Mode by signing a younger running back with a history of weight problems.
Peterson was then linked to the Oakland Raiders, but Oakland would prefer to get Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and, more than likely, throw a seventh-round draft pick Seattle’s way because Lynch retired and the Seahawks still technically own his rights.
The 1-2 combination punch of that magnitude directed to Peterson’s ego had to take a toll on him. Few people would consider Lacy to be a better running back than A.P. and Lynch wasn’t in the mood to take hits in his final season in 2015, which makes you wonder if he’s going to be suddenly willing to take the pounding that prompted him to walk away in the first place.
With his name constantly being in the speculation of where will he sign, the last week-plus has been even more frustrating if Peterson is wanting to get a deal done and end his name making regular rounds on NFL Network and other football-centric media presentations.
He was linked to Tampa Bay when it was learned he was working out with Jameis Winston, and even before that when he was caught off-guard and goaded into naming teams he’s interested in on ESPN’s “First Take” and mentioned the Buccaneers. However, this week, the Bucs front office claimed to have no interest in Peterson.
Then came the Patriots. He would simply take over the role LeGarrette Blount handled last year – a part-time role that sees him get used heavily for stretches and on the bench for longer stretches.
When Peterson left New England without a contract, rumors immediately surfaced that the Patriots might be using Peterson to get Blount off of his contract demands. Whether that’s the case or not, the visit didn’t end in a signing for either Peterson or Blount.
Now comes New Orleans. The Saints lost Hightower but still have Mark Ingram, an impressive younger back coming off his first 1,000-yard season and under contract for $4 million a year the next two seasons. Ingram has been a versatile dual threat with 96 receptions over the last two seasons. It would seem clear, given Peterson’s one-dimensional game as simply a runner and not much in the way of being a receiver, that he wouldn’t be usurping Ingram but would be a complementary back.
There is still a lot of time between now and when Peterson should start wondering whether there isn’t a spot for him on an NFL roster. But, given the star treatment he was given in Minnesota, it has been a longer wait than most expected.
The smart money is that Peterson will be on a NFL roster when the 2017 season begins, but it will be interesting to watch where he ends up, how much he signs for and how he is used.
Peterson has seemed to play his best when he’s been written off for one reason or another. The years he was coming off a brutal knee injury and coming off his suspension, he won the NFL rushing title.
Nobody is expecting that, with the potential exception of Vikings players that have come and gone in the last decade. They’ve seen it on a daily basis and seen the reports of Peterson’s football death being greatly exaggerated.
Is the third time the charm?
Get your popcorn ready…eventually.