It’s the mother of all questions in fantasy football: is Adrian Peterson still a first round pick in fantasy drafts? More importantly, probably, is if he’s still the #1 overall pick like he was for just about everyone heading into 2013.
Even more important, though, could be figuring out if Peterson’s best days are actually now behind him.
Yes, no, and I highly doubt it.
Peterson is a machine, as we’ve all come to discover. He returned from a brutal knee injury in less than a year and nearly broke the single-season rushing record. He entered the 2013 season with 2,500 rushing yards on the brain, and still powered through a nagging groin injury and other ailments to register 1,266 rushing yards, 11 total touchdowns and over 300 total touches in just 14 games. Add in the games he played at less than 100%, and that was still a mighty fine season for Peterson.
With the news of a groin injury that required surgery on Thursday, many fantasy enthusiasts are wondering if they can count on Peterson to be their workhorse again in 2014.
I say, why not?
He worked his way through injuries a year ago and outside of having to play hurt, didn’t look to be any less of a player than he was the season before.
In fact, thanks to the groin surgery (which he’ll be healed from in about six weeks), Peterson will be 100% for camp and preseason. He’ll be 29 when he enters the 2014 fantasy football season, but he’s still arguably in his prime when you look at his body of work over the last two years and the likely positive adjustments the Minnesota Vikings will be making around him.
They brought on Mike Zimmer, for one, who as a defensive mind should get the defense playing as well as it has in years, and from an overall stand-point figures to be an upgrade over Leslie Frazier.
The Vikings are going to attempt to upgrade under center, as well. Whether that means bringing in a veteran like Michael Vick or drafting a guy like Johnny Manziel or Derek Carr, that remains to be seen. But it’s not going to be the same as it was in 2013, that much is certain.
For now, all we know is that Peterson underwent a cleanup procedure related to a sports-hernia injury he sustained last year. Combine that with the fact that Peterson has shown to be a fast healer and his role is still monstrous, there’s really no reason to panic.
No, Adrian Peterson probably shouldn’t be the first player (or the first running back) off of drafts boards in 2014. That #1 overall pick title probably belongs to LeSean McCoy or Jamaal Charles. They’ve earned it.
With that being said, I won’t be criticizing anyone who takes Peterson with the #1 overall pick. He’s simply not a guy you want to bet against.
After all, a quick glance at his 2013 production shows he was still producing at a very high level. In fact, the last complete game he played at full health in 2013, he busted off for 211 rushing yards in a win over the Chicago Bears. The week before that, he willed Minnesota to a tie with the Green Bay Packers behind 146 rushing yards and a touchdown.
One could make the case those two mammoth games and the insane amount of carries he had leading into them is what broke him down, and perhaps he won’t ever truly recover.
Perhaps. Or you can factor in the rest he got over the season’s finale four games (just 18 carries), his groin getting back to 100% and all the rest he’ll get over the next two months.
A healthy, rested Adrian Peterson? Yeah, that sounds pretty good to me.