Adrian Peterson a while backprovidednot-so-subtle hintsthat if he couldn'tfinish his career with the Vikings, he wouldn't mind doing so with the Giants.
Now that Peterson will actually get to pick his second NFLteam as an unrestrictedfree agent, don't expect him to end up there.
The 31-year-old running back would havebeendue $18 million in salary against thecap in 2017 had he stayed in Minnesota. The Vikings did not pick up the option on Peterson'scontract and, on Thursday, confirmedthey would be moving on from him.
Consideringthe Vikings' hardfall from beingNFC contenders, Petersonwillwant that status again out of his new employer. If he's willing to acceptreasonable money for a back of his age with high mileage and more of a committee or backup role, there are threechampionship-caliber teams that makesense for him.
Here they are.
Though not a literal trade, Peterson in Oakland andLatavius Murrayin Minnesota would in effect be exactly that. The Vikings confirmed their Peterson break-up hours after they announced their acquisition of the former Raiders back.
It also meant Oakland needed another running back.
Not only would Peterson fit what the Raiders want to do on offense behind a powerful run-blocking line, but their depth at running back — DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard — means Peterson would not be needed as a contributor in the passing game, just as a power runner.
New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount is a free agent and can't expect more than another one-year deal to return to New England. That's iffy, given he was a lot less effective in 2016 than his gaudy TD total indicated. New England has done theadd-an-aging-back bit to effectiveness before — see a 30-year-old Corey Dillon helping provideitsprevious Super Bowl repeat.
The Patriotsare willing to take more chances with past-their-prime veterans than other teams, because they're not afraid to cut ties quickly if the wear and tear or something else indicates theplayerisn't a good fit.
From Peterson'sperspective, it's the best place to go to get his ring and stay in a prominent offensive role.
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy was signed by Seattle, James Starks was cutand converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery will go into first offseason as a full-time running back. There's an obvious void for a veteran power back in Green Bay, and Peterson is built to run well behind its strong line.
We've already seen thisweirdnessinreverse with a Hall of Fame QB in the NFC North, Brett Favre. The Packers don't typically go for agingfree agents, but when they do, it has a Canton-likeflair.
As the Vikings try to catch up in the division, you can bet the Packers also wouldn't mind using Peterson effectively against them.