Running back Adrian Peterson is headed into the 2017 season as a free agent. The Minnesota Vikings made the decision not to pay Peterson the whopping $18 million he was slated to earn this year.
Being that he is one of the more viable free agent running backs, when healthy, Peterson should attract a high volume of interest. Not every team that reaches out to Peterson may be a desired landing spot, though. He has already stated that he would prefer to play alongside an “established quarterback.”
This may or may not happen when taking into consideration teams that could benefit from adding Peterson to their roster. Based on some glaring needs, the following clubs ought to consider bringing the veteran aboard.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Quarterback Blake Bortles should not be attempting an average 39 passes per game. This makes for too many darn turnovers. The Jaguars need to establish a better run game, and bringing Peterson to Florida make a lot of sense here.
Last year, T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory headlined a sad cast of rushers that managed a total of only five scores on the ground in 2016. Bortles added another three for a grand total of eight. Only one team in the league scored less rushing touchdowns than Jacksonville did last year.
This is not going to cut the mustard moving forward. Peterson would be a major upgrade to to get the Jaguars ground game up and running. It was only in 2015 that Peterson rushed for a league-high 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Signing Peterson for a one-year deal to provide some relief on offense to Bortles could help save the young quarterback’s career.
— Drew Copley (@DrewASJax) September 25, 2016
2. New York Giants
We mentioned that there was one NFL team that scored less rushing touchdowns than Jacksonville last season. Bingo. It was the Giants. New York’s pathetic combination of running efforts yielded only six rushing touchdowns in 2016.
The Giants also averaged only 88.3 yards per game at a meager 3.5 yards per tote. Therefore, the Giants need to sign Peterson, stat, before another team gets its hands on him.
Peterson did have a bumpy 2016 season that ended abruptly after he injured his MCL. But, Peterson has come back from injury in the past and played stronger than ever. He maintains excellent physical shape and is actually “perplexed” that others doubt his ability to return in top form.
The Giants could certainly do worse, which is exactly what what has been going on the last two years. Two seasons ago, the Giants recorded only five rushing touchdowns. This wouldn’t happen on Peterson’s watch.
3. Green Bay Packers
Right off the bat, Peterson would get his wish granted to play with a distinguished quarterback, and one of the best, in Aaron Rodgers. The Packers might also consider it quite the steal to sign a back who played for a divisional rival team for so many years.
The Packers ran into running back trouble last season when both Eddie Lacy and James Starks became injured. Both running backs are also free agents. Lacy had a terrible year performance-wise and struggled with his weight. He might decide he needs a fresh start despite the Packers saying they are open to him returning in 2017.
The Packers scrambled around last season signing various free agents aboard. Eventually, Ty Montgomery played a dual role and served as the team’s primary rusher for the latter part of the season.
Adding Peterson to the mix wouldn’t be a horrible thing. Despite last year’s down season, Peterson maintained an average of 4.9 yards per carry during his tenure in Minnesota.
If anything, the Packers could try to trade Peterson should Montgomery turn out to be the real deal in his quest to transform into a running back.
4. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have been making some fine offseason moves during the past two years. Their money has been well-spent on adding free agency players who have evolved into wonderful assets for the team.
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) February 28, 2017
With this being the case, the Raiders will have an immediate need to fill Murray’s shoes. What better than for the Raiders to sign a four-time All-Pro and former NFL MVP to their blooming offense?
The Raiders are trending up and quarterback Derek Carr is achieving elite status faster than Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
A seasoned rusher in that of Peterson could only improve a Raiders offense that ranked sixth-best in the league in 2016.
5. Detroit Lions
Last, will envision Peterson working for another rival NFC North team in that of the Lions.
If Detroit signed Peterson, he would work alongside quarterback Matthew Stafford. The last time we checked, Stafford finished sixth in the league in passing yards. He would therefore fulfill Peterson’s established quarterback requirement.
And, the Lions could definitely benefit from adding Peterson to their horribly lagging run game. Detroit drafted the young Ameer Abdullah in 2015, but that has not played out so well. The Lions’ rushing offense ranked 32nd in 2015 and finished at No. 30 in 2016. Abdullah played in only two games before injuring his foot last year.
Whatever the excuses are, the Lions need a skilled veteran such as Peterson get their rushing game out of the toilet. Stafford has been playing some marvelous football the past two years under coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. If he had Peterson to lean on, the Lions offense could really take off.