9 Teams That Adrian Peterson Could Play For in 2017
The future is looking uncertain for Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson these days. The star rusher struggled through the first two weeks of the 2016 season and in week two suffered a torn meniscus that very well could keep him out for the remainder of the year.
Even if Peterson finds a way to return this season, he probably won’t be back until the playoffs with an injury that will keep him out up to 3-4 months.
With Peterson’s health now a big question mark and the aging back set to turn 32 in 2017, it’s fair to wonder if he’s played his final down in purple.
32 in March.
And needs to overcome another injury.
— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2016
That could mean several things. Peterson could still stay in Minnesota after taking a paycut, the Vikings could cut him or he could be flat out released.
A lot of what may potentially happen could come down to how backups Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata fair with Peterson out. If neither can take hold of the starting job and prove to be effective, the Vikings may not be so quick to rush away from their long-time veteran back.
Regardless, Peterson really isn’t the future anymore in Minnesota and in one form or another, the Vikings have to know moving on is the right move.
So, what could that mean for Peterson? Let’s take a look at nine truly realistic landing spots in 2017, should be be traded or find his way to free agency:
New England Patriots
A year from now, the Pats could absolutely make sense for Peterson. He’ll be 32 and looking for a place to chase his first ever Super Bowl title and they’ll probably still have a need for a talented runner.
LeGarrette Blount has been solid in their lead role over the years, but there’s no denying even an aging Peterson coming off a knee injury would feel like a big upgrade. Bill Belichick is also notorious for picking up retreads and giving them life before they are sent into retirement, too.
Miami wouldn’t give Peterson nearly as good of a chance to compete for a title, but he’d be a welcome addition to a backfield that currently sports an injured Arian Foster and unproven talents like Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake.
Peterson wouldn’t necessarily solve all of Miami’s issues, but he’d get to be in the warmth of Florida as he rides out his final NFL days and there’s a chance he could be the missing link to a growing offense.
If there is one glaring weakness with Baltimore right now, it’s the fact that they don’t have a true established starting running back. Justin Forsett is too small and no one else they have has been able to grab the bull by the horns.
Joe Flacco and co. have won the title before and you better believe they’re interested in adding more veteran talent that could get them back over the hump. Enter Peterson, who probably wouldn’t mind the idea of chasing a title out of the AFC North.
New York Giants
The Giants feel like another team that is on the cusp of a title run, or at least is again dangerously close to the playoffs. One huge thing they lack? A defined threat out of their offensive backfield.
Rashad Jennings is only mediocre, which could open the door to a big offseason acquisition. Minnesota trading Peterson to a contending NFC team isn’t realistic, but if cut, All Day could eye the Big Apple. With Eli Manning airing it out with ODB, Cruz and Shepard, Peterson could have running room for days.
The Redskins would be a step down from the Giants in the NFC East, but their slow 0-2 start this year already suggests big changes could be coming. Depending on what happens, Dan Syder could bust out his checkbook – as he is one to do – and spend, spend, spend.
Spending could bring him to Peterson, who would give their lethargic running game a boost. Matt Jones has loads of upside, but hasn’t tapped into it yet. Adding Peterson for a year or two wouldn’t do too much harm to his long-term development.
There’s a pretty decent chance Peterson wouldn’t mind sticking it to the Vikings if they opt to cut him, so a return to the NFC North can’t be ruled out. Signing with the Packers probably doesn’t make sense with Eddie Lacy in town, so the Bears could make some sense.
Chicago is in bad shape, and one major issue is a weak rushing attack. If Peterson can come in and improve that, perhaps the Bears will field a better defense and a quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over every other play. Bears fans can dream, can’t they?
Detroit might actually be the NFC North team that makes the most sense (again, so long as we’re not seriously considering the Pack), as they also have no established running back.
Ameer Abdullah is hurt and has never proven he can do it by himself and a healthy passing game could benefit greatly from an actual rushing threat. Peterson gets to stick in the NFC North and compete for a playoff spot – and hey, maybe he lures Megatron back out of retirement.
We’re getting warmer here, as a pairing of Peterson and Cam Newton could be absolutely deadly. Carolina was in the big game just last year and has to be fed up with Jonathan Stewart’s laundry list of injuries.
Confiding in Peterson might not make total sense if they’re upset with health woes, but if he can all still, he could be worth a look. Carolina seems to be able to run no matter who is back there, so adding All Day to a balanced attack could give the Panthers the edge they need to get back to the Super Bowl and finish the job.
Seattle may be the ultimate destination for Peterson, who has to want a title pretty badly before he departs and the Seahawks still feel like a contender – when healthy. Part of that poor health stems from the running back position, where Thomas Rawls isn’t really looking like the answer and Marshawn Lynch seems content in retirement.
Peterson would be running behind a hopefully improved o-line and would have Russell Wilson, great coaching and an elite defense by his side.
As you can see, Peterson looks to have a plethora of options going into 2017, should he be freed of his deal in Minnesota. Money, playing time and opportunity to chase a title would undoubtedly factor into his ultimate choice, but if Peterson can get/stay healthy and be the guy we saw even just last season, whatever team that snags him could be getting a steal.
Think Peterson is done in Minnesota? Think he’s going to one of these teams next year, somewhere else or destined to retire? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
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