Adrian Peterson hasprovidednot-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 hadbeendue $18 million in salary against thecap in 2017 had he stayed in Minnesota. The Vikings made the expecteddecisionnot to pick up his optionbefore he gota $6 million bonus on March 11.
Consideringthe Vikings' hard, 2016 fall from beingNFC contenders, Petersonwillwant that status again out of his new employer. If he's willing to accept both more reasonable money for a back of his age with high mileage and more of a committee or backup role, there are threechampionship-caliber teams that make much more sense than theNew York offense he doesn't fit.
Here they are.
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.
Yes, the home-state team should still be on the radar for the Palestine, Texas, native, despite the fact that it found the NFL's next great feature back in Ezekiel Elliott. Alfred Morris didOKas Dallas'backup in 2016, but by the end of the season, a healthy Darren McFadden was Zeke's preferred No. 2.WhileMcFadden was re-signed for one more year, Lance Dunbar was lost in free agency.
Peterson could playa key role in easing Elliott's sophomoreworkload, and behind Dallas' offensive line, Peterson'sfreshlegs can lead to solid complementary production. The Cowboys would provide Peterson a different NFC East destination, but one that's closer to a Super Bowl.
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.