Rumors have been swirling as free agency looms Thursday afternoon, and many of those rumors have involved running back Adrian Peterson. A lot of those rumors also appear to come from either Peterson himself, or his dad.
The Minnesota Vikings announced on Feb. 28 that they wouldn’t be picking up Peterson’s $18 million option for 2017, making him a free agent.
Peterson’s priorities are reportedly playing for a contender, starting at running back, and having a chance to prove his worth with incentives, according to Charles Robinson.
Based on the qualifications (and rumors) Peterson and his father have put forth, let’s take a look at what might be the most realistic landing spots for the free agent running back.
The Raiders make a lot of sense. If Latavius Murray leaves, there’s plenty of room for Peterson. Derek Carr has also expressed interest in Peterson, which should be a ringing endorsement.
Another reason Peterson like the Raiders:
“The offensive line, they haven’t been playing around. They haven’t been trying to get offensive linemen from the bottom of the barrel and trying to make them into something,” Peterson’s dad told the Pioneer Press.
The Seahawks would be another contender that needs running back help. They couldn’t stay healthy in the backfield last year, but the downside here is that their offensive line isn’t good. They were also in the shotgun 65 percent of the time last season, which doesn’t bode well for Peterson:
Re Adrian Peterson/Seahawks, keep in mind a great stat from @SeifertESPN: Almost 95% of his career runs have come from QB-under-center— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) March 7, 2017
Peterson’s dad allegedly said that he had interest in playing for the Patriots, but there’s always two sides to things:
Adrian Peterson's dad said son interested in Patriots but doesn't know if they're interested in him But dad says for sure SEA/OAK interested— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 7, 2017
The feeling should always be mutual. Peterson in New England would seem like a perfect fit, putting in a talented player in one of the best team atmospheres in football, but he’d likely have to take the biggest pay cut to join.
The Packers meet all the criteria Peterson needs. They’re a contender, and he could potentially start ahead of Ty Montgomery. We can assume they’ll be contending as long as Aaron Rodgers is their quarterback. Eddie Lacy is a free agent, but at 26 years old, they may be more inclined to re-sign him than an older player like Peterson with an injury history.
The Giants were one of the first teams that Peterson mentioned this offseason as a potential suitor. They released Rashad Jennings, and Peterson would fit nicely next to rookie Paul Perkins in the backfield. Oh, and Peterson hasn’t been so subtle about his interest:
The Giants been making some interesting moves.— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) February 16, 2017
The Giants love that shotgun formation, though.
6. Minnesota Vikings
Hey, Peterson could always end back up in Minnesota. Splitting carries with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata wasn’t terrible for the Vikings when healthy, they just ran into some terrible luck and a bad offensive line in 2016. Peterson has apparently wanted a big offer from them, and just hasn’t gotten it, of course:
Adrian Peterson dad said #Vikings still in mix but son doesn't like they haven't given him any offer "That'd make him feel more appreciated"— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) March 7, 2017
Minnesota fans would certainly love to have their franchise player back at a discounted price.
This one doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface. The Cowboys have the NFL’s leading rusher from 2016 in rookie Ezekiel Elliott and one of the best offensive lines in football, so they’re set. But having Peterson share carries would ideally extend Elliott’s career length, and make an already scary offense even more fearsome. Of course, there’s also the whole thing about Peterson being from Texas.
Doug Martin has put just two full seasons together since entering the NFL, and the Bucs could use some more stability at the position. Martin was suspended for violating the NFL’s PED policy, and just hasn’t been able to stay on the field. A bruising back like Peterson could help Jameis Winston and company in Tampa.
The Texans would seem like a good fit. Peterson is from Texas, and the team seems like a quarterback away from being a true contender. The only problem here is, Lamar Miller is under contract through 2019, and still relatively young as he turns 26 next season. Still, Peterson coupled with Miller wouldn’t be a terrible looking backfield by any means.