Over the weekend on NFL Network, Hall of Fame RB Terrell Davis had a fairly eye opening opinion on where Washington Redskins RB, and pending free agent Adrian Peterson should play in 2019:
What Davis said, via NFL Network:
It’s time to bring AP back home. It’s time to bring him back to Minnesota. Think about it, Latavius Murray may be out of there. You still like Dalvin Cook, he’s going to be there.
But remember, this is a two-back league now. You bring Adrian back. What I saw last year, there was a lot of gas in the tank and it would be phenomenal to see him finish his career off in Minnesota where it all started.
That’s a lot to unpack. So, let’s unpack it. The first seven years of Peterson’s career in Minnesota were an absolute joy to watch. He was the most popular athlete in Minnesota, one of the most popular in the NFL, and Peterson was pretty much the only offense the Vikings generated for most of those seasons. His 2012 comeback from a serious knee injury was one of the most storied and improbable in NFL history. He ran for over 2,000 yards, came within 10 yards of breaking the single season rushing record, was Comeback Player of the Year and the league MVP, and literally carried the Vikings to the playoffs on his back.
Things went south for the Vikings and Peterson in 2014, though. He was put on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and missed 15 games when the now infamous child abuse story broke. At the end of the season, he demanded to be traded, but wasn’t, and that muddied the waters even more. In 2015, he returned and led the NFL in rushing, as the Vikings went 11-5 and won the NFC North. In 2016, though, he suffered a knee injury in week two, and missed all but three games.
When he left Minnesota, he landed in New Orleans and then was traded to Arizona, finishing the 2017 season there before joining Washington last year. With the Redskins, he rejuvenated his career, running for over 1,000 yards and seven TD’s. Once again, Peterson will be a free agent, and I agree with Davis that he appears to have a lot left in the tank.
I do not agree, though, that the Vikings would be an ideal spot for him in 2019. For all the thrills he brought Vikings fans between 2007-2013, his last three season really brought a lot of conflicted feelings towards him with many fans. Peterson’s legacy with the Vikings will be a complicated one, and something fans will have to sort out on their own when the time comes.
I don’t think that should be the reason the Vikings should pass on Peterson, though. I think he still views himself as a number one back, and even though Davis is right when he says the NFL is a two back league, I don’t think Peterson would accept being back two in the rotation. When he was with the Saints through the first four games of 2017, he wasn’t the top back, and it caused a lot of tension on the sidelines, which led to him being traded in the middle of the season.
I also don’t think that the skillset Peterson brings is something that aligns with the Vikings offense anymore, either. Between Latavius Murray, Dalvin Cook, and C.J. Ham. Vikings running backs caught 73 passes last year, and a pass catching RB is a critical component to what the Vikings do now. It’s not a critical component to Peterson’s skillset, though, as he’s caught a total of 34 passes in the last three seasons combined. Even if Davis is right and Latavius Murray doesn’t return, I don’t see Peterson as RB2 behind Dalvin Cook as the optimal solution to a replacement.
As much as I’d LOVE to hear and write about the oft-repeated off-season staples of Adrian Peterson working on his pass protection and receiving abilities, I feel that another blog for another fan base should have the privilege to write those stories, and we can concentrate on important stuff.
Like whether or not Peterson can play guard, for example.
Should the Vikings sign Adrian Peterson?
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