Adrian Peterson is one year removed from a 2,000-yard season. But he’s isn’t currently the best running back in the NFL. That’s just the reality of this league and that position. Peterson is coming off another stellar season, but in 2013 11 qualifying backs averaged more yards per carry and eight had more total yards from scrimmage.
One year removed from his 30th birthday, Peterson is also likely beyond his prime. Sure, he has defied the odds on plenty of occasions before, but that doesn’t mean lightning will strike yet again. He is now a great, but not exceptional player at a non-premium position, and his team is still rebuilding.
The Minnesota Vikings won’t win the Super Bowl this year. Their quarterbacks are Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and rookie Teddy Bridgewater and they lack depth and talent in the receiving corps, the secondary and even up front on defense, especially after losing top pass-rusher Jared Allen in the offseason.
So why pay Peterson more than $11 million to remain on the roster? If anybody is willing to trade for the guy right now and you can pick up some draft picks while removing him from the books, you take that deal.
A potential Peterson trade was a hot rumor at the draft, according to my Bleacher Report colleague Mike Freeman, and ESPN beat man Ben Goessling wrote Monday that AP’s contract made an exit “feasible.”
“My person opinion,” one AFC general manager told Freeman, “is this (coming) season will be Peterson’s last with the Vikings. Despite the cap hit, they’ll make some sort of move to get him off the roster.”
Now that most rosters are close to set, you wouldn’t think such a move could happen any sooner, but Peterson is still a game-changing player. So if a team has the money and can spare the draft picks and feels Peterson could be the final piece of the Super Bowl puzzle, trading for him would make a lot of sense.
Basically, the only reason the Vikes should hold onto Peterson is if nobody else is willing to deal for him.