I won’t lie. I have been a pretty strong Adrian Peterson supporter since the Vikings got the steal of the draft in 2007 and picked him seventh overall. I’ve supported him through his injuries, his suspensions and even more of his injuries. But, that support started waning after he attempted to turn his child abuse suspension into an opportunity to snag more guaranteed money from the Vikings. Not to mention the fact that he forced Mike Zimmer to fly down to his house as he felt like he was mistreated during his suspension… It was behavior that I can’t defend or justify (Even though somehow it worked, and I guess, when THAT worked, then going on ESPN (See below) isn’t that strange). While I’m on the fence about the “abuse” in the child abuse charge (I don’t feel like he was attempting to really beat his child, like an adult beating a child, I just think that he did what he knew and that he did it too hard… I was spanked and believe in spanking (I also don’t have kids), so that probably has something to do with it) I just don’t know how he turned that opportunity into a ‘Poor me’ situation.
Well, I do know. I mean, he’s Adrian Peterson, talent-wise probably the best running back of all time. But where did he even get the idea to use that situation as leverage? Oh yeah, he that shall not be named… Peterson used to be represented by this guy…
That personified douche bag is Ben Dogra. He’s suspended from the NFL for shady practices and is no longer representing Peterson, officially, but the moves that Peterson has made since the season ended scream Dogra. The first move that Peterson made was to go on ESPN’s First Take to discuss his future with the Vikings and the NFL in general. While he did say that he wants to stay in Minnesota, he also said that he believes that he’s earned his $18 million dollars (Haha) and named a few teams that he’d consider going to… You can watch that interview, here:
Peterson did say that he does believe that he can play at a high level for the next five years. I mean, he does seem different than other people, physically he’s a freak and what he did after his ACL tear was other-worldly. He’s also well rested, as he hasn’t played in two of the past three seasons. At this point in his career, he’s clearly at the point where if he did leave, he’d be looking for a team that’s a contender, even though he named Tampa Bay as a landing spot (Probably because a lot of teams don’t really need a running back like Adrian Peterson, scheme-wise (Or salary-wise, or age-wise)). His criteria for a team was one with a good defense, a good offensive scheme and a great coaching staff. Wow, way to state the obvious, dude. “What kind of car do you want, AD?”, “One with tires, and seats, and windows… That moves forwards and backwards”…
He named New York (Giants), the Bucs and when pressed a bit, finally, the Houston (Not the Cowboys? Throwing shade at Ezekiel Elliot?!). Houston makes sense as it’s close to where AD lives in the off-season with his family, and they could use his services. But, really, this appearance wasn’t about Peterson joining a different team, at least not directly, it was about him attempting to create leverage in his contract negotiations with the Vikings (If they’re even negotiating at this point). It appears that that may not have worked, as Peterson sent out this cryptic Tweet late last night…
The Giants been making some interesting moves.
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) February 16, 2017
What, what, what the who what what?!?
So. It appears that AP was implying that because the New York Football Giants moved on from Rashad Jennings about a week ago, and because he named the Giants as a potential landing spot, that tweeting this will light a fire under someone at Winter Park’s ass… While Giants fans may be excited about the potential move, I believe that he didn’t tweet that because he actually wants to play there, but because he wants to, again, create leverage with the Vikings. As he said on ‘First Take’ he believes he’s earned the $18 million dollars he’s due this season (haha, again). How? I’m not sure, I mean, he hasn’t played two of the last three seasons, the three seasons that the Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been in charge. So, while Peterson believes he’s somehow earned $18 million dollars by playing in two-thirds of potential games, Zimmer seems to be pretty exhausted by this entire exercise and thus I really feel like a lot of these attempts at leverage are falling on deaf ears (and one blind eye?). How do I know?
Well, have you heard anything from the Vikings about working with Peterson on re-structuring his contract? You’d think that we’d have heard something by now, as the Vikings season ended eons ago (As far as 24 hour news goes) and the NFL season ended almost two weeks ago. Peterson’s contract is the most important thing that the Vikings need to handle this year, so the fact that we haven’t heard anything from the team, and that insiders have claimed that there’s only a 15% chance that Peterson comes back and you start to see the writing on the wall. That writing is… Peterson won’t be a Viking in 2017.
At least not right away. I do believe that Peterson has been coddled by the Vikings a bit. So, when he hits the open market and finds out that there’s no chance/team in hell that would pay him eight figure money in a league where most “Highly Paid” running backs are paid around or under six million a year… And really, he may actually end up back with the Vikings after testing the market and realizing that he’s really not going to get a much better offer than what the Vikings are proposing. Outside of the money, how many teams are looking for a 32 year old back that is injury and fumble prone, that doesn’t play on third downs or out of the shotgun/pistol, that really demands about 20 carries a game and needs to be part of a specific offense that relies on a power back? There really aren’t that many teams like that out there, and I believe that when he named the Giants, Bucs and Texans, he at least realizes that aspect of reality and has looked/been told what teams could actually be realistic. The rest of reality though? Not so much.
So, as much as it pains me… I think that it’s may be time that the Vikings move on from Peterson UNLESS he cuts his salary into a third of what it is now. To six million dollars a year. I know that a lot of people want AD gone, period, but honestly… The reason I’m not completely for getting rid of him is that the Vikings don’t have a replacement in place right now, and I do think that he does have some gas left in the tank, that he’s rested and that he’s motivated. All good things. So, if he can agree to a pretty massive pay-cut (These NFL contracts are worthless), then I’d be happy to bring him back so they can use Jerick McKinnon in the role he was meant for, a change of pace back that can also catch passes. He simply can’t carry an offense, but if he’s getting five to ten touches a game (Including catches), that’d mean that the offense is humming along and honestly I do believe that Peterson could help the team do that by ironically diversifying things.
Right now, the highest paid running backs in the league (Behind Peterson) are Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs (> Nine million), LeSean McCoy (An even eight million) and Jonathan Stewart (At seven point three million a year). Perhaps Peterson is just looking to be the highest paid back in the league, which depending on what the Chiefs do with Jamaal Charles, could end up being around the eight million that McCoy is due in Buffalo. I would be fine with that, as well, or at maybe less with a large signing bonus. As, the reality is, we don’t have a realistic replacement for him on roster. However, things get to a point where you’re forced to make a decision that isn’t necessarily win-win, and this could end up being one of those situations if Peterson continues to show signs that he’s out of touch with the reality of the situation.
Not to panic, though, as I do believe that there are some suitable replacements in this years draft that the Vikings can snag in the fourth or fifth rounds. Depending on how things go earlier in the draft (Obviously) I do believe that there’s a chance that the Vikings could snag a guy like Curtis Samuel of THE Ohio State University. I’m quickly becoming a pretty large Samuel fan, you can check out his highlights here:
As I’m sure you guys know, running backs aren’t being drafted as highly as they were even five or ten years ago. So, with a guy like Samuel being listed as anywhere between the fifth and tenth best running back in the draft (Depending on who you ask) and he realistically could fall to maybe the fourth round. He’s a dual threat, who can catch passes and burn defenses out of the backfield or lining up as a receiver. He’s like Percy Harvin without the personality disorder.
So, if this is the end of the Peterson era in Minnesota, I admit it, I’ll be kinda sad. He’s been a staple of the team for so long that it’ll just be weird watching yet another Vikings legend switch jerseys…
But, at this point the ball is completely in Peterson’s hands, so as long as he doesn’t fumble it by being a completely out of touch ego-maniac, which so far this off-season he’s been projecting to a tee. So, I’m not very encouraged, but considering the market right now I believe he’s in for a pretty rude awakening and really I think that the chances of him playing for the Vikings this year hinge on his reaction to that eye opening experience.
I give it a 50% chance, based on what I know and based on his behavior as of late, I give it a 25% chance of me wanting him back. So, come on AD… Stop listening to your agent/Dogra’s texts from Siberia and start working with the team to find a solution. Our window of opportunity is still open, especially with you playing, and we as fans didn’t get to see you play with Bradford (Something that would shut down the Minnesota internet)… So, it’s up to you!