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Zulgad: If Packers end up pursuing Peterson, it will be all about payback

By Judd Zulgad

Two weeks after NFL free agency opened, Adrian Peterson still has not found a new team and it appears that might remain the case for a while.

The Vikings have told the running back they don’t want him back – Minnesota signed free agent Latavius Murray as Peterson’s replacement last week – and Peterson’s only reported visit has been to Seattle. The Seahawks ended up signing former Packer Eddie Lacy to a one-year, $4.25 million deal.

So where might Peterson land?

Our buddy, ESPN’s Ben Goessling, reported Wednesday that the Packers have some interest in a visit with Peterson, but added it’s believed that might not happen until after the team can take stock of its roster following the draft.

While Peterson ending up with the Vikings’ arch-rivals would be an incredibly juicy story line, it seems to make little sense for the Packers. Peterson isn’t good in pass protection, isn’t great at catching the ball and likes to have his quarterback lined up under center.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers usually works out of the shotgun or pistol formation and loves to spread the ball around.

As Goessling wrote in an earlier piece on Peterson, the veteran had taken 2,257 handoffs with his quarterback under center before 2016 and accumulated 11,204 yards, averaging 4.95 yards per carry. He also had 94 touchdowns. Peterson, meanwhile, had only 115 shotgun carries in his career for 461 yards and three touchdowns. He had nine rushing attempts out of the pistol look and had gained 10 yards.

Peterson, who turned 32 on Tuesday, became used to the Vikings’ offense adjusting to whatever fit him best but that’s not going to happen if his quarterback is Rodgers.

So why would the Packers flirt with Peterson?

It very well could come down to Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy wanting to make executives at Winter Park as nervous as possible, while getting a bit of revenge for what happened in 2008.

It was August of that year that the Vikings were cleared by the NFL of tampering with Brett Favre.

That came after Favre had announced his retirement from the Packers following the previous season but then decided he wanted to return to Green Bay. The Packers told Favre they had moved on and that Rodgers would be their quarterback, leading Favre to attempt to force his way to Minnesota in what became a messy divorce that has since been patched up.

The Vikings would have loved to have gotten Favre for their 2008 season and his relationship with then-Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who had been Favre’s position coach in Green Bay, made Minnesota a logical fit. Favre also knew then-Vikings coach Brad Childress and the Vikings ran a version of the West Coast offense that was very similar to what Favre had directed in Green Bay.

Favre’s right were still owned by the Packers and they weren’t about to let him go to one of their biggest rivals. Green Bay ultimately filed tampering charges against the Vikings, alleging inappropriate contact between Favre, Childress and Bevell.

The Vikings could have lost draft picks or been fined but the NFL cleared them of any wrongdoing. Favre eventually was traded to the Jets for that season and, after one year in New York, he retired again in order to force his way to the Vikings. Favre then spent his final two seasons with Minnesota, leading the Vikings to the NFC title game in 2009.

Obviously, this didn’t sit well with the Packers at the time.

Thus, Thompson and McCarthy might be a tempted to have one of the Vikings’ greatest running backs of all-time play his home games in Lambeau Field for at least one season.

While Childress and Bevell are long gone, a few Vikings executives, including general manager Rick Spielman and executive vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski, are still around from the team that signed Favre for two seasons.

As for when Peterson might find a new team that remains uncertain. As Goessling points out, there is a case to be made for Peterson being patient and maybe waiting until an injury in offseason workouts or training camp creates an opportunity somewhere.

But there is always the chance the Packers could decide that even if it doesn’t make perfect sense having Peterson in green and gold for a season would be the perfect payback for the Vikings’ dalliance with Favre.

The post Zulgad: If Packers end up pursuing Peterson, it will be all about payback appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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