- Charlie Neibergall/AP
NFL free agency officially begins in one day, and it’s not shaping up to be a fun time for Adrian Peterson.
The Minnesota Vikings declined to pick up Peterson’s $18 million option for 2017, making him a free agent.
The move wasn’t unexpected – Peterson is 31 years old, with a history of knee injuries, a ton of carries, and has played just 20 games in the last three seasons, including just three last year because of a knee injury.
For the above reasons, Peterson’s free agent market appears barren, despite how Peterson’s father, Nelson, made it sound to the Pioneer Press. Nelson said the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks are interested in Adrian. He also said Adrian is interested in the New England Patriots.
However, those teams don’t seem to have great interest in Peterson. According to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero, the Seahawks have “no immediate interest” in Peterson.
The Raiders, meanwhile, just let a younger productive running back in Latavius Murray hit the negotiating window in free agency. Signing Peterson and his many miles over Murray would seem counterintuitive.
The Patriots could theoretically be interested, but they are also historically stringent on paying running backs, as the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian points out – they typically don’t pay running backs more than $2 million per year. Re-signing LeGarrette Blount (reports indicate he’s expected to leave the Patriots), who is coming off a 1,100-yard, 18-touchdown season, would seemingly be more of a priority than paying Peterson. And given that Nelson Peterson suggested that an $8 or $9 million offer for Adrian would be enticing, it doesn’t seem like Adrian would fit the Patriots’ plans.
With a deep draft class of running backs preparing to enter the league, there simply might not be much of a market for Peterson. Today’s NFL increasingly views running backs as interchangeable and disposable. Sure, they’re important to any game plan, but any team signing Peterson over drafting a rookie may simply be doing it for the name value. It’s unclear how much Peterson has left in the tank.
A clearer market for Peterson may emerge as free agency unfolds, but it’s looking highly unlikely that he’ll get a deal anywhere close to what the Vikings just took away from him.