The Washington Redskins addressed their running back woes by adding a big-name veteran Monday: seven-time Pro Bowl selection Adrian Peterson. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the 33-year-old’s deal was expected to be for one season.
Peterson spent 10 seasons in Minnesota before splitting time in New Orleans and Arizona during 2017. The former 1,000-yard rusher signed a two-year deal with the Saints but was traded to the Cardinals on Oct. 10 and released at the end of the season. But despite his accolades — Peterson, a four-time all-pro selection and 2012 NFL MVP, is 12th on the all-time rushing yards list — he remained unsigned after posting only 529 rushing yards in 10 games last year.
But after working out for the Redskins on Monday, “AP” is coming to D.C.
Peterson joins a running back group that has been depleted by injuries through the team’s first two preseason games. The first blow came when the Redskins’ second-round pick, Derrius Guice, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of the preseason opener at New England. Guice had been expected to play a critical role as a rookie in Washington’s new-look offense.
There were more hits to the team’s depth a week later against the New York Jets. Backups Samaje Perine (sprained ankle) and Byron Marshall (lower leg) left the game with injuries, and rookie Martez Carter was waived with an injury designation Saturday.
That left running backs coach Randy Jordan with only three healthy players in practice this past weekend: Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs.
The organization also hosted former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and former New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa for workouts but didn’t sign either player. Following Sunday’s practice, Coach Jay Gruden said he wasn’t looking for a starter but for more depth at the position.
“We want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” Gruden said, when specifically asked of Charles and Peterson. “Like I said, we have had very [unlucky] situations with our running backs with obviously Guice and Marshall and Samaje. If something else happens, we are going to be really, really, really thin. So we just want to make sure we are covering all our bases right now, and we will address it when we feel like we have to.”
It remains to be seen whether Peterson will make the Redskins’ final 53-man roster. Thompson is a lock to make the team as the primary back on passing downs, and Kelley, the team’s starter a year ago, also appears to be well-positioned. The injuries to Perine, Marshall and Carter create a potential opening for Peterson, who figures to contribute most on early downs and in goal-line work. Bibbs is also in the mix for a roster spot.
Peterson has amassed 12,276 rushing yards in his career and rushed for a career-high 2,097 during his MVP season in 2012. But the veteran has been beset by injuries since then. After rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Vikings in 2015, Peterson has gained 601 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in 13 games over the past two seasons.
Roughly two hours before news of Peterson’s imminent signing broke, Guice tweeted a photo from a Florida hospital, where he’s set to undergo knee surgery.
Washington opens the regular season on the road against Peterson’s former team, the Cardinals, on Sept. 9.
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