Should the Lions resign RB Adrian Peterson?
By: Reese Nasser
Running back Adrian Peterson has been one of the league’s most polarizing players since he entered the league in 2007. He has filled the NFL record book, achieving things that most players at his position can only dream to achieve.
But at age 36, Peterson is trying to prove that he still has gas left in the tank. The 14-year NFL veteran is still currently a free agent and is trying to find a home for the 2021 season.
Peterson spent his entire 2020 season with the Detroit Lions. He appeared in all 16 games and started 10. In his lone season with Detroit, Peterson reached the end zone seven times and gained 705 yards from scrimmage on 168 touches.
Petersons ability to still perform at a consistent level has led many to wonder where he will play this season. A return to the Lions could be a real possibility and be a win-win situation for both teams.
The Lions depth chart currently lacks a truly established veteran running back. Second year running back D’Andre Swift will be the lead back in 2021, regardless of who else the team adds before the season starts. Swift played well in his rookie season, appearing in 13 games where he scored 10 times and had 878 yards from scrimmage.
The real issue begins when you look past Swift. The lack of depth could lead to the Lions needing to bring in extra running backs. Outside of Swift, there is just one back on the roster that has played in the NFL; Jamaal Williams. Williams spent the past four seasons with the Green Bay Packers where he played in 60 games. He scored 18 total touchdowns and was effective in both the pass and run game.
The next two stored backs are both rookies; Jermar Jefferson and Dedrick Mills. Jefferson was selected in the seventh round. The Oregon State product scored 29 touchdowns for the Beavers, with 27 of them coming on the ground. Dedrick Mills spent time at both Georgia Tech and Nebraska. He finished with just over 2100 yards from scrimmage and 26 touchdowns.
Between all four rostered backs in Detroit, there are just 73 NFL games played. The clear lack of experience could be the driving force in bringing Adiran Peterson back for one more season. Peterson has still been one of the more explosive players at his position over the past few seasons.
His ability to consistently stay on the field could also be a reason that the Lions bring Peterson back. In the past three seasons, he has missed just one game and has performed well whenever he has stepped onto the field.
Arguably the biggest reason to bring Peterson back to Detroit could be his veteran presence. He is one of the most accomplished players in the history of football and his knowledge could help elevate this particular young running back room.
Peterson could also potentially move into seventh all-time on the running back yards from the scrimmage list this upcoming season. A few quality games from Peterson or a steady handful of carries throughout this reason could be just enough for him to move up.
The Lions could benefit from bringing Peterson back and Peterson could add even more to his long and storied resume. His career has been elite up to this point and Peterson isn’t ready to hang it up just yet. A one-year deal could be just what both sides need.