It’s the offseason, officially, and it’s a bit early in the offseason—the Super Bowl was just played last Sunday night. But this has happened at this early date, and I am already sick of it. The jockeying and the lobbying and media hyperventilating over where Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has already begun, and my AP fatigue meter is maxing out. It’s in the red zone (not the place where Peterson has fumbled on occasion, but that place on a pressure meter where a machine is overloaded and about to seize up and quit working.
It has just started and I am already done with it. Do we have to go into full hand-wringing mode over Peterson every offseason? Even as he ages, and his body starts to give way and his skills diminish (every so-slightly, however, because he is Adrian Peterson, after all), do we have to sit and see every story on every website or flip out over every unsubstantiated tweet that says Adrian is feeling a little “la vida loca” today and could see himself in say, Las Vegas next season? Do we really have to get all “oh man, what if Adrian wants to take his talents to South Beach?!” on this thing again?
No, we don’t. Please, let’s not. Yes, the Adrian Peterson situation is important to the team, but the “will he—won’t he” perseverating is not conducive to my good health. I’ve had enough.
I went all in with AP a few years ago when he got suspended, renegotiated his contract, came back and then led the league in rushing (and helped head coach Mike Zimmer take the team to playoffs). So, this is not a “I-am-done-with AP” story. I am just done with all the games that aren’t played on the field.
Peterson has been a great back for the Minnesota Vikings. He has led the league in rushing several times, been the league MVP, thrilled us to no end with his skill and his will to be the best ever. But he has not exactly been the torch-bearer for a consistent playoff team. In fact, his teams have been to the playoffs only four times in his 10-year career, and one of those times had more to do with the quarterback than the running back (2009). That is just not enough to get worked up about now when the man will be 32 years old at the start of the 2017 season.
Don’t get me wrong, I would like to have him back on the team next season. I believe Peterson when he says that he has a lot left in the tank—he has basically taken two years off in the past three. So, he doesn’t exactly have the body of a 32-year-old running back at this point.
I would like to see him in the backfield with Sam Bradford (but only if the promises of improved pass-catching ability we heard last training camp are true) and see what that offense looks like. I want to know whether or not defenses will still sellout for Peterson and give Bradford the opportunity to hit someone down field. We have seen what the offense looks like with Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata sharing the backfield with Bradford. So, I still want to know what a rejuvenated Peterson can bring to it.
But not at the price he is currently under contract for—which is $18 million shamolions. That ain’t happening, and I hope to heavens that Peterson and his agent recognize that. Perhaps they do, and that’s why we keep hearing these reports of places where AP wouldn’t mind playing. He has already said that he wants to finish his career in Minnesota (who wouldn’t for that lottery-like contract), but he has also said that playing for Tampa or the New York Giants would be of interest to him, as well.
In an interview, Petersons was pressed to name places where he wouldn’t mind going to, and my impression was that he wasn’t really prepared for the question and was just throwing team names out there (after saying he wanted to “finish in Purple.”) So, I give him a slight pass on it. But, of course, that is just the kind of thing that picks up blogosphere steam and people starting examining its viability.
Okay, I’ll bite. Let’s examine it.
The Buccaneers have Doug Martin and a slew of okay-to-decent running backs behind him. Martin, like Peterson, sat out most 2016 injured after the pair finished 1 and 2 in rushing the year before. Martin is 28 years old, is signed for the next four seasons and makes a fraction ($5,764,706) of what Peterson is scheduled to make in 2017. Martin’s contract has no dead cap money, so the Bucs could cut him and sign Peterson, but that isn’t likely to happen.
As far as the Giants are concerned, they could actually use Peterson since the New York running game was about as bad as the Vikings’ last season. The Giants were ranked 29th in the league at 88.3 yards per game. They could use some help, but I just don’t see them shelling out a lot more money than the Vikings might for Peterson, especially with a 2017 draft that is reportedly deep in running backs.
And then there is the Cowboys connection mentioned above. It appears to only get notice because of some phone call between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the Texas-native Peterson back during the year of his suspension. Bringing it up now, two years later, is all the more laughable given what the Cowboys have done at the position since then—drafting Ezekiel Elliot, who led the league in rushing last season as a rookie. The thought of bringing in Peterson to that situation for any reason just boggles the mind. And, frankly, I don’t want to hear about it.
I also don’t want to hear about where else Peterson wants to play. I don’t want to hear how many years he thinks he can still play (5-7, he postulated) and I don’t want to hear how much he thinks he is worth. I want to hear just one of two things when it comes to Peterson:
He renegotiated his contract, and the Vikings found a very cap-friendly number that will allow Peterson to finish his career in Minnesota and make him so happy that he would want to run through a brick wall (and no, I don’t mean his offensive line) for the team.
- Things are not going to work out in Minnesota for AP, and both teams have moved on amicably. Then he can go see who will pay and we don’t have to care about it. The Vikings move on and start the post-Peterson era with a running back who can run, catch the ball and pass protect like a beast.
That’s it. No negotiation through the media. No throwing up test balloons to see if the people here still love him. No histrionics from his agent in which the Vikings or their fans are blamed for disrespecting him for everything he has brought to Minnesota. None of that crud.
In fact, this is my last piece on the Adrian Peterson saga 3.0 (or whatever iteration we are at). I won’t write any more until he is signed. I would like to have him at the right price and finishing his career as a Viking. I believe he can help the team get to the playoffs. If the Vikings feel the same way, then sign him. If not, then don’t. There is no try. That is, there is no trying his case in the media this time. Get ‘er done, one way or the other.
So, this is the last word about it, right? Sounds good.