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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Will Adrian Peterson play in 2018?

By Matthew Coller

Some things in sports surprise us. Other things play out exactly how every person in America expected. Adrian Peterson’s fade into obscurity falls into the second category.

The future Hall of Fame running back, who turned 33 on Wednesday, has said that he plans on playing next season…and the season after…and the season after that….and maybe the season after that.

Adrian Peterson on First Take right now, says he thinks he has 3 to 4 more years left in the NFL.

“As far as my body and physically, I feel great”

— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) March 16, 2018

Peterson is taking the LaVar Ball approach of trying to talk something into existence. It certainly worked for Mr. Ball. His son Lonzo was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, just as he’d predicted countless times. But for Peterson, this might be the end of the road – not only because he isn’t effective anymore, but because he isn’t living in the same reality as the rest of us.

Last season, A.D. opened the year with the New Orleans Saints. By the end of the Saints’ first game, he was seen on the sidelines yelling at head coach Sean Payton. Both said the incident was nothing, but he was traded to Arizona in short order.

While with the Cardinals, we got one last glimpse of the unstoppable Adrian Peterson. On October 15, he ran 26 times for 134 yards and scored two touchdowns. Two games later, he carried the ball 37 times – which is unheard of in today’s game – for 159 yards.

And then over the final three games, Peterson gained 134 yards on 55 carries, good for 2.4 yards per rush. When the dust settled on his 2017 season, 41 running backs with more than 100 carries averaged more yards per rush than Peterson. That’s not to mention that he added just nine catches for 66 yards and ranked as the fourth worst pass blocker in the NFL by Pro Football Focus grades.

Peterson never had an all-around skillset, but his one dimension was so good that it didn’t matter that much. It would be like a scorer in the NBA who averaged 27 points per game and played suspect defense. His one dimension is no longer among the better backs in the league. The other-worldly explosiveness that once caused him to make cuts at hyper speed and truck linebackers and safeties like they were road cones is gone. A hint of his power still exists. Years of injuries and an incredible workload have taken the rest.

There is no shame in that. He was an anomaly in 2015 when he led the NFL in rushing at age 30.

Since then Peterson has played in just 13 games and averaged 3.1 yards per carry. There is no reason for an NFL team to hire him, especially with his disconnect from reality. Even as a grind-out-the-clock back, he wouldn’t be that effective and he certainly wouldn’t take that role. The Cardinals gave him one last shot at being a feature back and aside from two games, it didn’t work out well.

If Peterson walks away now, maybe he can sign a one-day contract with the Vikings and hold a goodbye press conference. The two sides left on good terms and Peterson has (mostly) avoided saying anything since his exit that would alienate fans. Though you can’t help but wonder if the Vikings or fans would be interested. They have moved on. There are pictures of Dalvin Cook all over the newly-opened TCO Performance Center.

Plus some bad feelings may still exist from the 2014 child abuse incident that soured many fans on him.

Still, Peterson is 12th all-time in rushing. He accomplished impossible feats like setting the single game rushing record and clearing 2,000 yards – which will very likely never happen again.

It will be unfortunate if he does land another job and struggle. Peterson’s stint with Arizona already puts him in the company of legends like Edgerrin James, who finished his career with the Seahawks, or Emmitt Smith with the Cards, Eric Dickerson with the Falcons, Tony Dorsett with Denver… the list goes on and on.

But at least he had those final flashes. Maybe he will talk another team into signing him, but one more year could get ugly. It’s the right time for Peterson to take the same path as Browns legend Joe Thomas and walk away.

The post Will Adrian Peterson play in 2018? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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