By: Reese Nasser
Adrian Peterson has had a hall of fame career. Even after a 14-year career, Peterson still has gas in the tank. He is still playing the game and at a high level. During the 2020 season, at age 35, Peterson still reached the end zone seven times, only the second time that he has reached that total since 2016. Peterson also surpassed 700 yards from scrimmage. He has proven to still be capable and still wants to play in the NFL. Here are the top remaining spots that Peterson could go to still play.
The Atlanta Falcons could use an extra back on the roster. The Falcons current lead back is former Carolina Panthers backup Mike Davis. Davis proved to be a solid option last season as he filled in for the injured Christian McCaffery. He finished the season with eight touchdowns and 1,015 yards from scrimmage.
Cordarelle Patterson is slotted as RB2 but he is more of a utility player, more known for his receiving and kick return abilities. He does have big play ability, which has been on full display his whole career.
The next two backs on the roster are Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James. The two of them combined for four rushing attempts totaling seven yards. The Falcons may plan on incorporating one of these younger backs into a larger role but it is still unsure if that would happen.
That leads us to Adrian Peterson. Peterson has 3,192 career carries, more than the entirety of the other rostered running backs. He also only had one less touchdown than Davis. He could not only support Davis, who would still be the lead back, but also help the younger backs progress into a bigger role over time.
The Broncos could use Peterson as a way to ease a new group of running backs into their spots. While Melvin Gordon III is the #1, the number two spot could be up for grabs, at least for now. Denver drafted North Carolina running back Javonte Wiliams in the second round. Due to him being a rookie, they may not throw him directly into the fire.
The other rostered backs are Royce Freeman and Mike Boone. Peterson had better numbers than both last season.
Peterson’s impact could be felt immediately in Denver. Giving Williams the opportunity to learn behind both Gordon and Peterson could be extremely beneficial to his career. Gordon’s injury history could also make this signong worth it. Gordon appeared in 15 games last season but started only 10. The Broncos may attempt to play him carefully and Peterson could help lessen the load.
A reunion with the team where it all began. It would be a storybook ending to a long career for Peterson. The addition would also make sense. Outside of star running back Dalvin Cook, the Minnesota Vikings have a running back room that is somewhat crowded and young. But, outside of third-year back Alexander Mattison, the rest of the room lacks in comparison to Peterson.
It would also be fitting to have Peterson finish with Minnesota. During his time with the Vikings, he accounted for 13,000 yards from scrimmage and 102 touchdowns. He would be welcomed back in Minnesota and would be a great place to end his storied career.