You can make an argument, from a pure football perspective, that Adrian Peterson should be shut down for the rest of the season.
You can also make an argument that if he's capable and able, he should play. This is the NFL, and if you can go, you go.
But has fantasy football influenced AP's decision?
Since he came into the NFL, Adrian Peterson has been an athletic warrior, and is, at least in my opinion, the best damn running back in the league. He has a combination of speed and power that reminds me of some of the best backs that have ever played this game, and he is an absolute joy to watch week in and week out.
He's built enough equity that if he or the team thinks he should shut it down for the rest of this lost season, no one would begrudge him. He's earned that much credit, at least in my opinion.
But AP says he's playing Sunday, for pride...and fantasy football owners.
But that's not the only reason Peterson wants to come back after missing the past three games because of a high left ankle sprain.
"It's very important, especially for my fantasy team owners," Peterson said with a smile. "They've been giving me a hard time."
Look, he also says the right things about playing: for pride, for some goals, to help the team win, all the stuff you would expect to hear from a guy of Peterson's character. And I'm sure he said the fantasy football stuff as at least in a partially joking manner, so I would guess I'm making more of this that I probably should.
That said, I'm not sure that this is a good thing.
I have AP on my fantasy team, so yeah, I'm happy he'll play. I also need a win to get into the playoffs and keep my Patriots-like dynasty alive, so it's important that I get a win and make some serious cash...that I will, uh, donate to charity, of course.
But as a guy that bleeds purple and gold, this makes me uneasy. He says his ankle is '85%', which is good enough for fat blobs like you and me to drag ourselves out of bed and go do our mundane jobs on...but is AP playing the smart thing?
There is no reason for him to go out and risk serious injury for a 2-11 team. If the Vikings were fighting for a playoff spot, that's one thing, and I bet he would've been back last week.
If AP is going out because he's healthy and can contribute, great. If not, shut it down. Toby Gerhart has proven over the last few weeks that he can get it done, in his own, battering ram, TOBYSMASHTOBYCRUSH style.
What say you?