The active period of NFL free agency has come and gone, and Adrian Peterson remains unsigned. On the one hand, it’s a little surprising considering everything Peterson has done on the field over his career (three NFL rushing titles, seven Pro Bowl bids, etc.). On the other hand, here’s Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman:
When B/R spoke to around a half-dozen team executives about Peterson, the consensus is that many teams believe he’s effectively done. When they watch video of Peterson, they see a player who has lost the most important part of his game: his burst.
Peterson has slowed dramatically, they believe. Not a little. Not a shade. But a lot.
In the words of one scout, Peterson is “a glorified fullback.”
Peterson turned 32 earlier this week and is coming off a season in which a knee injury limited him to just three games and 37 carries for Minnesota, so the apprehension is certainly understandable. But one could counter that he’s a “young” 32, if such a thing exists: Peterson sat out the entire 2014 season not because of injury but because of the child-abuse charges that were levied against him (he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault and received no jail time). So that’s a whole year of wear-and-tear that he didn’t take. Plus, there’s the fact that the Vikings’ offensive line was a horror show last season; Peterson might have had trouble finding room to run even had he been healthy.
But still, Peterson’s age and recent injury history are obviously working against him. As are the aforementioned child-abuse charges.
“NFL teams have not forgotten, and they are not anxious for the potential PR pushback from fans, sponsors and media if they sign him,” Jeff Diamond, a former general manager of the Vikings (before Peterson’s time), wrote for the Sporting News on Thursday.
And then there are Peterson’s salary demands, which reportedly are high for a player with all these things going against him. Just after midnight on Saturday, Peterson lashed out at reports that he’s asking for the moon.
Plus, there’s the fact that NFL teams are about to take their pick from a running back draft class that Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer has called “one of the best … in a long time,” further depleting Peterson’s opportunities.
Add all that up, and one has to wonder if we’ve seen the last of him, despite his claims to the contrary.