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Is it possible Adrian Peterson won’t find a new team?

Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) smiles prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

If we’ve learned anything in the NFL, it’s that the last thing teams want is distractions – unless it means drafting/signing/keeping a superstar.

Not to say Tim Tebow was a great quarterback, but he went 8-6 as a starter with 29 combined touchdowns, nine interceptions, 6.7 Yards Per Attempt and a 75.3 quarterback rating. You can bet he would have a job as a backup somewhere if he didn’t bring along Justin Timberlake-level coverage. There have been much worse backups. Jimmy Clausen had a job in the NFL longer than Tebow and he went 1-13 with a 61.9 rating.

Someone would have taken a shot at Johnny Manziel. Michael Sam would have been a special teamer. Ray Rice would be in somebody’s backfield.

Another example:

But they weren’t all that good. You can find other backup quarterbacks or long-shots or special teamers or past-their-prime running backs.

Teams are only willing to risk an overload of press for the Greg Hardys, Ben Roethlisbergers or Ezekiel Elliotts. We’ll soon see Joe Mixon get drafted high despite a video of him punching a woman in 2014 because there’s a good chance he’s a star. If he wasn’t the top running back in the draft, he’d be a late-round pick at best.

At one time, Adrian Peterson fell into that stars-with-different-rules category. The Vikings brought him back after an ugly 2014 suspension and he won the rushing title. But the distraction doesn’t match the production now. It certainly didn’t for the Minnesota Vikings, who announced Thursday that Peterson would not be returning after the signing of running back Latavius Murray.

Peterson might be shutout of a job altogether.

And if any team doubted the level of drama he’s capable of bringing, only a few days into free agency, his father told the Pioneer Press that he didn’t feel respected by the Vikings because they hadn’t given him an offer. Apparently being the highest paid running back in the league in 2016 wasn’t respect enough for past performance.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. Last season, there was a report that some players in the Vikings’ locker room were unhappy with the fact that he chose a surgery that would keep him out longer after a torn meniscus because he was thinking of his future rather than the team’s Super Bowl chances. When he did come back, Peterson informed a DJ on a radio station he invests in that he’d be returning. That had to drive head coach Mike Zimmer up the wall. Then after playing one game and fumbling, he hung ’em up for the final two games, once again, appearing to think only of his own wellbeing.

As much sense as it makes to be selfish in a league that doesn’t generally care much about its players, other Vikings free agents like Zach Line or Captain Munnerlyn played the last two weeks, risking injury.

It would all be brushed aside if Peterson had the chance to rush for 2,000 yards. But every team in the NFL knows that his yards per carry has been fading since the second half of 2015 and he’s coming off an injury and that he barely saw the field last season and averaged just 1.9 Yards Per Attempt when he did.

A few teams have sniffed around. The Seahawks quickly went a different direction, signing Eddie Lacy. Peterson linked himself to the Patriots, who showed no interest and signed Rex Burkhead.

The Oakland Raiders have been a rumored destination. Maybe they could see Peterson having a big year behind their beastly offensive line. Or maybe they could see just about anyone having a big year behind them, like backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, who averaged 5.4 and 5.9 Yards Per Carry, respectively.

It doesn’t help Peterson’s case that this year’s draft is stocked full of great running backs. Vikings GM Rick Spielman called it the deepest group he’s ever seen. And those rookies come cheap, unlike AD.

And rookies are unlikely to make a peep. Peterson still seems to believe he’s a 300-carry, No. 1 bell-cow running back, despite his age and the fact that his pass blocking and receiving are well below average.

We can never underestimate NFL teams’ ability to convince themselves something will work out, but it’s hard to make a good case for anyone to sign him – at least any argument that isn’t based on the long-ago past.

  • David Lawrence

    Every Viking fan in Minnesota has known for a couple years now what is painfully obvious….Peterson would help Vikings more by playing for GB, Detroit, or Chicago. He had a good career, but it lasted too long here and was way overpaid for his recent contributions. Good luck AP :).

    • PurpleFaithful


    • Ron Green

      He had a GREAT carreer, HOF’er

      • Mike Kano

        At least you realize that his career is more or less over. Whether it was Hall of Fame worthy is open to substantial question.

        • Ron Green

          wanna bet?

          • Mike Kano

            A wager would require me to believe that you possess some money.

          • Ron Green

            put up or shut up. I think I might have a little. How bout you?

          • Mike Kano

            That is some funny stuff. I have more money than someone like you will make in a lifetime. After all, we live in an economy which rewards intelligence and knowledge. For that same reason, I doubt that you have any money, certainly not enough for me to bother tracking you down when you lose and fail to pay.

          • Ron Green

            Put up or shut up, Lets go $100,,,send it to me; we will settle up when he goes in, By the way when did you move out of your mommys basement?

          • Mike Kano

            Po’ folk like you are always amusing.

            Only Millennials live in their “mommys basement”. Boomers like me own our own houses, because we are real adults.

            Everything about you screams that you live in a single wide. You probably vacation by filling up a leaky, plastic kiddie pool and then putting your favorite lawn chair in the pool.

            $100 won’t even cover the costs of having some guy drive over to your single wide to collect from you when you don’t pay.

          • Mike

            Mike Kano, and Ron Green- please delete your discus accounts, please! I beg you! You guys are Wiitards. LOL!

    • Talltales08

      My thoughts exactly, minus the good luck part.

  • Wilbur One

    I really think some team will sign Adrian this year. I hope it happens. I totally understand why that team is not the Minnesota Vikings. But, I’m not an Adrian hater. I’m actually feeling some pain that he’s not here with us anymore. He still wants to play, and he has some significant marketing value, and I know he can and will bust a few more classics. He SHOULD be playing somewhere this year. Aside from all that, I am certain that there is one team waiting with open arms for him to come to their camp. Everyone there wants him on their team, and the sooner the better. He will be there soon, Canton, Ohio!

    • David Lawrence

      His agent has a tough job. We all get old and things change. AP will have to accept a small contract over a short period that is incentive laden. He will not like his new reality. I hope he gets a job soon too.

  • patrick

    he will play. he’s 600 yards from 10th all time…..2400 yards from 5th, 2900 from 4th. his ego won’t allow him not to play even if it’s for league min w/incentives.

    • Mike Kano

      600 yards is a long way to go at 1.9 yards per carry.

      • patrick

        but it’s soooo close. 1 mediocre season. NO WAY he hangs it up. of course, I thought the same thing about Jared Allen being 6.5 sacks behind Strahan and I was wrong, but I think Adrian’s ego about wanting to be counted among the best all time wouldn’t let him stop at 16th in yards.

        • 1.5 mediocre seasons – 2015 was overinflated with garbage yards against horrid teams – 75% of his yards came against losing teams. But yes, his ego will likely be his undoing, goading him on to either total embarra ssment or extreme injury.
          Personally, I’m hoping for him taking the high road and retire.

  • Pistoff Taxpayer

    To be fair Ray Rice did get a raw deal.
    He was actually good, and made a bad decision that was caught on camera over 3 years ago.
    The fact that no team has given him a tryout since then is sad.

    • Andrew Stead

      “a” bad decision? You think that Rice was a kind, doting, fiance who suddenly made a bad decision and threw a vicious hook *and then* stared his inert victim as though she were a sack of feed to be moved? Ok, then. We all get to believe what we want in this life.

      • Philip Anderson

        Well the thing is Adrian is living in a world that HE thinks he is the most wonderful overall running back that there is. Get over your self Adrian, you happened to be (in the past) a running back that could only RUN with the ball. You could not pass protect for “crap”. You used a “SWITCH” to beat the “crap” out of a poor defenseless little kid and came across that you were innocent and that you did nothing wrong. And yet you keep preaching with bible verses how wonderful everything is. Grow the hell up.

  • Mit Cheesebro

    This site used to have decent articles now they just churns out click bait, AP will play no need to argue that, as far as the god awful comparisons, Tebow was fundamentally bad at qb, and not a prototypical player and backups are qbs that fit a teams system, Michael Sam didn’t make it in the NFL specifically because he couldn’t play special teams, and Johnny manziel just didn’t want to play football

    • Not bad comparisons except for Manziel. Tebow was fundamentally bad at QB – like AP dancing ineffectively behind the line. Michael Sam couldn’t play ST – like AP can’t pass-block, run out of the shotgun, hold onto the ball, or catch it consistently.

  • Mike Kano

    I predicted this situation, just a few weeks ago, on this very site. Not that I can claim much credit though. Predicting this situation was like predicting that the sun was going to rise in the east, and set in the west.

    There are a lot of fans, particularly hardcore Peterson fans, who are still in denial. In the stock market, they are the people who sell at the bottom, and buy at the top. They are referred to as the “dumb money”. They make decisions based upon what has already happened, rather than what is going to happen. They are also the people who think that the economy is “rigged”, because the economy rewards people for being intelligent and knowledgeable.

    These are the people who can’t accept that 1.9 yards per carry and more fumbles than touchdowns is more or less what Peterson is today, and who still cite 2012 like it has relevance on 2017. They are the people who think Peterson was an elite player in 2015 because he led the league in rushing, while being oblivious to the fact that he had far more carries than anyone else and that he padded his stats running against bad teams.

    It is clear there is an enormous chasm between Peterson’s view of his value in free agency and how the the 32 GMs in the league view his value.

    There are certainly a number of GMs who won’t even consider signing Peterson due to the public relation issues (child abuse scandal, playing in the NFL is “slavery”, tweet storms against the team that has paid him close to $100 million.)

    There are also a lot of teams where Peterson either is not a fit due to schematic issues (not being able to effectively run from the shotgun, not being able to pick up a blitz, not being an effective receiver), a fully staffed backfield, or a demand for ball security that Peterson can’t meet.

    Once you eliminate all the teams where Peterson isn’t even an option, there just aren’t that many potential buyers for Peterson’s services, and there are multiple alternatives to Peterson, both in free agency and in the college draft. The agents for Lacy and Murray recognized this, and they negotiated contracts for their clients while there were still roster spots available.

    Peterson is in such denial that his agent probably doesn’t know how to proceed. After all, during an interview right before free agency, Peterson claimed that he had “earned” the $18 million due him in his option year (which the Vikings subsequently declined). At this point, Peterson will be lucky to get 30% of that, on a one year contract which is only partially guaranteed.

    The reality is that every roster spot claimed by another player drives down Peterson’s value at this point. It is a race between Peterson’s acceptance of reality vs declining roster spots and cap space. I am not convinced that Peterson can win that race. There is a good chance that he either retires or plays for close to veteran minimum. The price of arrogance is always high.

    • Wilbur One

      Excellent points, and well-stated.

    • Ron Green

      babble on…what does the present or future have to do with a RB thats in the top 10 of all time in yards rushed? Don’t follow your banter, dude!

      • You don’t see Emmitt Smith dusting off his cleats…you don’t see Jerry Rice campaigning for a job….Joe Montana…..John Elway……the list goes on.
        Just because you WERE great, does not mean you ARE great. Time marches on, athletes age and become non-productive.
        That’s not banter. That’s fact. Peterson is done.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Maybe I’m old fashion but I dont see Mixon going before late in round 2 and more likely the 3rd ~ To much risk once he gets that payday to return to his old ways ~ All of the last 2 years has been staying out of trouble so he could get drafted ~

    Maybe he has changed and maybe he hasn’t ~ Would a GM really risk a high draft pick on him ~ ???

    • dwschom

      Prototypical boom or bust pick.

      He is an amazing football player and he’d be far less expensive than the character risk named AP.

  • Gordon Guffey
    • Pistoff Taxpayer

      Them two combined for a pass score on the Wonderlic.

      • nikoli


  • Andre Esters

    Yeah… it’s looking rough for the veteran RB… if no teams scooped him up by now, it’s safe to say front offices are more than happy to play the financial waiting game. AP wants to get paid his handsome worth, but like the Tony Romo nonsense, why come out of pocket when (a) player will eventually come to you.

    I don’t believe for a second that Peterson will be unemployed this season, though… someone like Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Washington, hell even San Francisco will come sniffing around. Either they will sell him on bell-cow nostalgia, or throw enough money at him so that he feels “respected”.

    Talking with a lot of Minnesota fans, people seem to think “wouldn’t it suck if this came back to bite the Vikings…” and all I can say to that is BOLOGNA. This separation has been in the making for seasons, and for it to go as smoothly as it has been, Minnesota should be counting their blessings. Peterson will get his chance represent for the 30-something RB’s, unfortunately he’s gonna have to endure a slice of humble pie. If the 2017 Vikings end up facing off against whatever team AP joins, let the media mongrels enjoy the spectacle.

  • Roger Aho

    He’s one up on the depth chart above Colin Kaepernick. Packer fans will hang Ted Thompson if he signs a child beater or a traitor.

  • Granite777

    Texas will grab him.

  • Talltales08

    I’d like to see him land with the Browns, a loser for a loser.

  • styx rogan


  • The truth teller

    As a player AD was amazing, Until he found the Randy Moss theory, of I play when I want to !!! The Vikings should have adopted the same theory, we’ll pay when you play.


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