Insiders

Adrian Peterson’s True Value

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At this time last year, most analysts and fans alike considered Adrian Peterson the best running back in the world. Now, the 30-year-old is just trying to figure out where he’ll be suiting up this fall. Typically when a running back turns 30, its the beginning of the end, but considering Peterson only played in one game last year, you’d figure the former MVP has fresh legs.

Peterson was recently reinstated by the NFL, which allows him to participate in all team activities. The Minnesota Vikings begin their conditioning program this week, but its highly unlikely Peterson will partake in it this early.

With that being said, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman stated previously how they would like to retain Peterson.

“Adrian is under contract and a member of our football team,” Spielman said. “We’ve stated that, our owner has stated it, our head coach has stated it. There is no question that we want Adrian Peterson back on our football team.”

However, Peterson is due to make $12.75 million in salary in 2015 and has a cap hit of over $15 million. Those numbers are daunting when you consider his age because how many elite years does he have left in him, if any?

While Minnesota would love to reconstruct Peterson’s deal, that proposition seems very unlikely.

Peterson’s agent Ben Dogra had this to say recently.

“We want out of Minnesota,” Dogra said.

With a statement like that, it forces Minnesota’s hand because who knows if Peterson will ever report to the team?

Also, Peterson won’t consider constructing his contract with a team he doesn’t want to play for, so it leaves Minnesota with very limited potential trading partners.

If the divorce between Minnesota and Peterson eventually does happen, these few teams will be waiting in line:

Arizona Cardinals: While the Arizona Cardinals made the playoffs last season, running the football wasn’t one of their strengths. The Cardinals finished 31st in total rushing yards and dead last in yards per carry at 3.3.

Andre Ellington was their primary rusher, as he rushed for 660 yards on the season, while only reaching the end zone three times on the ground. Landing Adrian Peterson would instantly make Arizona’s offense a balanced attack.

Also, the potential acquisition could be enough to get Arizona to surpass Seattle in the NFC West.

Could you imagine Larry Fitzgerald and Peterson in the same huddle?

Dallas Cowboys: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Dallas Cowboys’ interest in Peterson.

After deciding to let DeMarco Murray to Philly, the Cowboys signed running back Darren McFadden. While that’s a nice signing, it’ll be foolish to expect McFadden to single handedly replace Murray’s production.

If Dallas is able to reel in Peterson, he’ll compliment Tony Romo and Dez Bryant in such a remarkable way.  The new “triplets” will have as much Hall of Fame credentials as their predecessors from the ’90’s.

Oakland Raiders: This proud organization hasn’t seen playoff football in 13 years. In an attempt to become respectable, the Oakland Raiders have allegedly thrown their name into the Adrian Peterson sweepstakes.

Even with Adrian Peterson in the huddle, Oakland isn’t a playoff team on paper. When attempting to get a player of Peterson’s ability and age, you’d think it’ll be a team that feels they’re one major piece away from a Super Bowl.

Despite all of that, Oakland does make sense from a finanacial standpoint. Oakland has the cap space to take on Peterson’s lucrative contract.

New Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave also coached Peterson in Minnesota.

What is Adrian Peterson truly worth in a trade scenario?

Minnesota reportedly wants a first round pick and starting cornerback for Peterson. 

No matter what happens to Peterson, he’ll have the opportunity this fall to prove that he’s still one of the elite backs in the game. However, something tells me that it won’t be in a purple uniform.

With Peterson holding most of the chips in terms of having leverage in a potential contract restructuring, the suitors for the Vikings will be limited and it’s more than likely that they will have to take a Day 2 or Day 3 pick for the best football player in the history of their franchise.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.