Adrian Peterson missed most of the 2016 season with a knee injury, and many wonder if he’s ever going to be a dominant NFL running back again. Much has been written about his gargantuan $18 million salary, and it’s been widely expected Peterson will be released by the Minnesota Vikings because of it.
In response to all that talk, Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he’s “perplexed” people doubt his ability to come back and perform at a high level. From his perspective, his comeback in 2012 after he tore up his knee at the end of 2011 should be proof enough he’s more than capable of doing so again.
It’s easy to understand why Peterson doesn’t doubt himself. He did rush for over 2,000 years after needing reconstructive knee surgery and was extremely good in 2015 before his 2016 injury riddled campaign.
However, the big difference between now and then is that Peterson will be 32 years old when the 2017 season begins. Most running backs break down well before this point in their careers, and it’s remarkable he’s been as dominant as he has for this long to begin with.
Despite his belief that he has seven more seasons of football left in his body (seriously), it’s a tough sell. Peterson will be blessed by the football gods if he can put together one more dominant season, let alone seven.
Still, this doesn’t mean he won’t be retained by Minnesota, even with the huge salary cap hit. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman recently said Peterson “will always be a Minnesota Viking,” and he’s set to meet with Peterson’s agent next week.