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Bleacher Report – Vikings

The five best landing spots for Adrian Peterson

By Matthew Coller

Editor’s note: This column originally published Jan. 20. With the news that Adrian Peterson is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, we’ve decided to re-post the column. It’s still possible he’ll be back with the Vikings, but the team announced it won’t exercise the $18 million option for next year in his contract.

If you were putting odds on where Adrian Peterson will play next season, the favorite would be Minnesota, but a lot has to happen for the 31-year-old running back to return to the Vikings.

He will not only have to agree on a price, but based on comments made on ESPN’s First Take, it sounds like he will also have to be on board with the direction of the offense.

If he can’t find middle ground on those issues or if the Vikings simply decide to move on and release their future Hall of Famer, where will he end up?

Peterson name dropped three teams during his ESPN appearance: The Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. Would those really be the best landing spots? Let’s have a look at five that would be the best fit:

New England Patriots

The Patriots’ No. 1 running back LeGarrette Blount went for over 1,000 yards and scored 18(!) touchdowns this season, but he is 30 years old, a free agent and only averaged 3.9 yards per carry this year. If New England is looking to strike more fear into their opponents with a home run threat running back to mix in with Dion Lewis and James White, Peterson might be under consideration. Bill Belichick once signed an allegedly washed-up Corey Dillion and dragged three more years out of his career. Peterson clearly would not be the main focus of the offense, but the possibility of winning a Super Bowl might interest him enough to take a back seat.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers didn’t provide much help for Cam Newton with their running game, which ranked 20th in yards per carry in 2016. Jonathan Stewart was forced to run the ball over 200 times and averaged just 3.8 YPC. Most of Stewart’s best days came when he had another solid running back DeAngelo Williams mixing in. If Peterson was interested in playing with Newton and didn’t mind splitting up the load, the two elder statesmen in the backfield would have a better chance to succeed. It seems like a long shot that Peterson will find any job where he is the go-to option considering most teams have multiple running backs that they use regularly.

Denver Broncos

All of the focus on the Broncos’ Super Bowl win was on their incredible defense, but Denver’s running game carried them through a large portion of the season while Peyton Manning struggled. They did not have the same luxury in 2016 as Devontae Booker, CJ Anderson and Justin Forsett combined for the league’s 28th ranked run attack in yards per carry. With no clear answer at quarterback, a swing at making their run game dangerous again may be the best route back to the playoffs. In this case, Peterson would get more carries than in many other locations.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy players are still wearing over Doug Martin’s abysmal year. He gained just 2.9 yards per carry in eight games, dragging Tampa’s run game to the bottom of the league. The Bucs have a competitive team, good quarterback, excellent No. 1 receiver, but they cannot feel on very solid ground with Martin and could lose quality No. 2 RB Jacquizz Rogers.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks could have used a little Beast Mode in their lives this year. They had a merry-go-round of running backs combine for 3.9 yards per carry. Even if Thomas Rawls showed potential in the playoffs against Detroit, he finished the year with just 3.2 yards per rush. For years, Seattle used Marshawn Lynch to close out games and they would probably like to find that element of their offense again. The one concern on Peterson’s side might be that Seattle’s offensive line was even worse than Minnesota’s by Pro Football Focus rankings. It would be tough to sign AP and pour money into free agents, too.

What about the Giants and Texans?

Both are options, but the Giants spent a lot of loot to shore up their defense in the offseason last year and may not have the cash to pay what Peterson is demanding. As for Houston, they have a better running back under contract in Lamar Miller. There is no reason to take carries away from Miller and give them to a player who is six years older.

Adrian Peterson joins ESPN, name drops 3 potential non-Vikings suitors

The post The five best landing spots for Adrian Peterson appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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