Adrian Peterson: 5 Teams That Could Welcome the Troubled Runningback
Now that we know Adrian Peterson will not serve jail time and have pled to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault, will the NFL welcome back with open arms, and more importantly, which teams will get in line to try and woo the former Minnesota Vikings running back?
A report on NFL.com starts the debate by asking whether a trip back to his former NFC North team is a good idea.
Peterson pleaded no contest to reckless assault Tuesday, avoiding jail time. But only NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can reinstate Peterson from the exempt list, and league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said the league would review the court documents before making a decision. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman would not comment on the process during his midseason news conference Tuesday.
While the Minnesota Vikings front office is mum on a potential return, it appears players in the Vikings locker room would welcome him back to the franchise.
As Ben Goessling wrote, “A handful of prominent Vikings players said Tuesday they'd be excited to have Peterson back on the roster, adding that the running back wouldn't have to do anything to regain trust in the locker room after his Sept. 12 arrest for child abuse charges led to an eight-game absence.
Peterson has stayed in contact with numerous players and coaches throughout his absence, texting a motivational speech for coach Mike Zimmer to read to the team before the Vikings' win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 28 and passing along advice to rookie running back Jerick McKinnon, who has run for 445 yards in Peterson's absence.
Those types of things, players said Tuesday, went a long way toward maintaining Peterson's status as one of the team's leaders.
He was drafted by the Vikings seventh overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oklahoma. Peterson set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards as a true freshman during the 2004 season. As a unanimous first-team All-American, he became the first freshman to finish as the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Peterson finished his college football career as the Sooners' third all-time leading rusher.
Following his first pro season, in which he set an NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game (296), Peterson was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was then awarded the MVP award for his performance in the Pro Bowl and became only the fifth player in NFL history to have more than 3,000 yards through his first two seasons. In 2010, he became the fifth fastest player to run for 5,000 yards, doing so in his 51st game.
Should the Vikings pass on a reunion with Peterson, here are four other teams that can use his services immediately.
NEW YORK JETS
It would certainly create more news and controversy in The Big Apple for head coach Rex Ryan. The Jets running game is just as dismal as the passing attack. Peterson gives Ryan more versatility on offense and creates a buzz – taking the focus off the head coach and more on the player. The New York media would eat this up.
The Colts are a passing team – only. The Trent Richardson experiment has come and gone. The arm of Andrew Luck and a surprisingly good defense has made the Colts a prominent Super Bowl-potential team. Adding Peterson makes this team the favorite in the AFC immediately and he gives the franchise back it has lacked for years.
Somewhere in a think tank, Thomas Dimitroff and Rich McKay are trying to figure out how to land Peterson. The Falcons traded for Mike Vick in 2001 by trading draft picks with the San Diego Chargers, who took LaDanian Tomlinson. Falcons fans I’m sure would have rather had the footwork of Tomlinson. Peterson would flourish in the Falcons offense and take pressure off Matt Ryan to make it all happen through the air.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Peterson gets a Super Bowl ring and Tom Brady goes down as the greatest quarterback of all time. This makes the most logical sense if Minnesota does not bring him back. The Patriots are used to bringing in veterans who help make the team better. This may be the best move Bill Belichick has ever made.