Adrian Peterson is entering his 11th season in the NFL, which is an eternity for a running back, but the long-time Vikings standout could find himself somewhere else this offseason as he will be an unrestricted free agent on March 9.
The Vikings declined his 2017 option and while they remain the favorite to re-sign him, there are rumors swirling that the veteran back could go ring-chasing. According to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Peterson would at least consider taking a “Patriots-friendly” contract with New England in order to join the Super Bowl champs.
A source close to Peterson told the Herald that since AP has already earned a ton — more than $97 million is his career — it’s certainly something he’d consider. Peterson knows how it worked out for Darrelle Revis and Chris Long.
Peterson was the league’s most productive back for his first seven seasons in the league, but has had injury issues that have cause him to miss nearly all of two of the last three seasons. His 2015 campaign proved he still had juice in his legs, rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns, but a torn meniscus in the second game of the 2016 season shut him down (with the exception of an attempt to play in their 14th game).
If Peterson were to choose to take a smaller payday to sign with the Pats, he wouldn’t be the first or last to do so. With how much of a premium athletes, fans and media place on someone having a ring to cement their legacy, it’s not surprising that we’ve seen veterans with the financial stability to do so taking smaller contracts to join a team with legitimate title hopes (and it’s something we see across all sports).
The Patriots also are probably a good fit for what Peterson needs at 31 years old, as their pass-heavy attack would keep the wear and tear off of his aging legs. We know New England isn’t afraid to take on a veteran with some off-field baggage if they think he can still produce, and we’ll just have to see if Peterson is willing to meet the Patriots price tag.