A relatively warm winter is about to heat up a bit this spring. Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings’ all-time leading rusher, will play for a new team in 2017. Where is puts on a helmet is anyone’s guess. The list isn’t long, but it is interesting, so much so the speculation of where No. 28 will play started when rumors persisted that Minnesota would not pick up his contract option, ultimately ending the marriage of team and player.
By the way, the 2017 option on running back Adrian Peterson, which would have given him $18 million next season, an unfathomable amount.
While the door remains open for Peterson to return to the Vikings, there will be plenty of potential suitors waiting to court Peterson. Here is a look at seven teams who might already have him on their radar before free agency begins.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Tom Coughlin wants a solid running game to go along with a passing offense that could revive itself in 2017. The Jaguars have both Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon, but neither struck fear in opposing defenses last season.
There has been plenty of talk about the Jaguars using the No. 4 pick in the Draft on Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook. This team also has a plethora of cap space and money to burn. Inking Peterson to a three-year deal is not unreasonable and would be the splash this organization needs to rally the fan base.
New York Giants – As soon as there was talk about Peterson leaving Minnesota, the rumors flew this would be his landing spot. He even teased it in social media. I think there is still an outside shot this happens, but there are other teams that could offer more money.
The Giants released Rashad Jennings, creating a need at the position. Peterson’s arrival immediately gives the Giants an even playing field with the Cowboys. The combination of Peterson, Eli Manning, and Odell Beckham Jr. would be impressive.
Green Bay Packers – I love this idea strictly from the notion that it means one NFC North rival takes another rival’s best player and uses him to win a Super Bowl.
The one thing Green Bay could use with Aaron Rodger behind center is a better running game. Eddie Lacy was injured last season and his replacements included Ty Montgomery, a converted wide receiver. Peterson would face Minnesota twice a season and you know that is incentive enough for a player to want to show up his old team. Green Bay immediately gives Peterson a chance to win a Super Bowl ring before he retires.
Cincinnati Bengals – Are the Bengals really sold on their two running backs, Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard? Wouldn’t a back like Peterson make a good offense an even better offense?
The Bengals are a playoff contender in most years but did not perform like were expected in 2016. I add the Bengals to this list because it makes sense, although it won’t happen. Cincinnati could have a suspect offensive line if both Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth sign somewhere else in free agency. If both were to stay in Ohio, I could see this as a possible destination.
New England Patriots – The Patriots are on the list because, well, they can be.
New England has LeGarrette Blount, but he could enter free agency. This takes away the big, bruising back the Patriots used to march to a Super Bowl win. Blount’s exit could open the door for Peterson, who may take a pay cut to move to Boston and earn a ring. Much like Aaron Rodgers, the notion of Adrian Peterson working with Tom Brady and Co. is enticing and may make the Patriots heavy favorites to win it all again in 2017.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – If there is one team that appears to be in driver’s seat for Peterson’s services, it is Tampa Bay.
Doug Martin’s suspension makes this move more intriguing. And with an offense featuring Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and possibly DeSean Jackson (in free agency), adding a bell cow back makes all the sense in the world. Tampa Bay just missed the playoffs this past season. With Peterson, this team makes the playoffs and could become this year’s Atlanta Falcons.
The Buccaneers have plenty of money to spend, so watch the franchise back the Brinks truck up to Peterson’s door with an offer.
Seattle Seahawks – Thomas Rawls is a good running back. Adrian Peterson is an even better running back.
Even with their success since Pete Carroll became the head coach, I see this team as the one that sneaks up on you when you doze off for a few minutes. Russell Wilson is underrated as a passer and the defense is still the Seahawks defense. Without Marshawn Lynch, the ground game is not as dominant. With Peterson, it might be better than the year Seattle won the Super Bowl.
This is one of those moves that could shock everyone.