Adrian Peterson is back. Whether or not he’s back/stays with the Minnesota Vikings, of course, is a whole different story. A judge has officially ruled in favor of Peterson, effectively putting an end to his indefinite suspension handed down by NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.
Peterson missed 15 games last season due to a child abuse scandal, but due to what he deemed to be unfair treatment by the league and a perceived lack of support within the Vikings organization, it looks as though a mutual parting may be on it’s way. Despite going on 30 years of age in March, Peterson still offers elite ability as a featured running back in the NFL, and would even be extra fresh after sitting out almost all of the 2014 season. Many teams should be calling to gauge Peterson’s availability, considering some teams could be a legit franchise back away from making a deep playoff run.
We already know the Dallas Cowboys have been interested for months, but they’re not the only team that could give Minnesota a call. Let’s break down Adrian Peterson’s five most likely destinations via either trade or free agency (should he be released):
Obviously Jerry World reigns supreme here. There were whispers about Peterson coming back to Texas way back before the season even started and now that DeMarco Murray is scheduled to hit free agency, Dallas might have found their preferred replacement. Murray was a stud in 2014, but due to an extensive injury history and the shelf life of star NFL running backs, it’s easy to see why Dallas is a little afraid to commit to him long-term. Peterson is older and could be just as fragile, but he’s more of a proven commodity. On the surface, landing Peterson would sell more tickets and would give the Cowboys that extra jolt to try to make a run at a Super Bowl next year.
New England Patriots
Who better than Bill Belichick to step in and steal Adrian Peterson from Jerry Jones? The Patriots are sending both Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley packing into free agency and Peterson s an obvious upgrade over LeGarrette Blount. It’s not a question of whether or not the Pats would want Peterson. It’s if they can give enough up to get him.
Trent Richardson is a bust and Ahmad Bradshaw can’t stay healthy. The Colts need a legit, versatile running back to pound the rock, protect Andrew Luck and catch the ball out of the backfield. A potential Super Bowl contender, Indy is arguably only missing a stud running back and some small pieces on defense. Peterson could be the missing link to their playoff success.
Atlanta still needs some work on defense, but they genuinely could be a great running back from making some serious noise in the playoffs again. They have a solid quarterback and and effective passing game, but they haven’t been able to run the ball since Michael Turner was still good. Peterson would inject life into the running game and the offense in general, giving the Falcons a shot at taking the NFC South back.
I doubt Peterson would be too keen on playing for a Bills team that badly needs a legit quarterback before they can truly contend, but he has to see the progress and potential with their elite defense and the arrival of head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan specifically loves to play smash mouth football on offense, and who better to start his Bills tenure with than one of the best running backs in the game? Peterson would give the Bills stability in their offensive backfield and could take pressure off of whoever is under center.