Three weeks into the free agency period, former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is among the best available players left on the open market. This has begun to spark up serious chatter as to why Peterson still hasn’t signed with a new team.
In light of that, there were reports last week from ESPN that suggested Peterson’s high price demands were playing him out of any potential deals. It was believed he was asking to get more than $8 million for the first year of a contract offer which may have played a major part in the diminished interest from the Green Bay Packers. It didn’t take long for Peterson to fire back a response on Twitter at those strong notions about him.
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) March 25, 2017
Adrian Peterson’s denial of these rumors has brought more clarity to the situation, but the fact remains that he has been a free agent for nearly a month. There hasn’t quite been as high of a demand for Peterson’s services that he would have expected in his first experience on the market.
Peterson has only held one official visit with a team being the Seattle Seahawks a couple of weekends ago before they decided to go in another direction by signing former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy to a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million. Adrian also had some interest from the Oakland Raiders, but their front office appears to be honed in on convincing Marshawn Lynch to return from his one-year retirement to play for them next season.
Although Adrian Peterson is hoping he can land on a Super Bowl contender where he can be a huge factor, it doesn’t look like teams are lining up for his services next season. That said, the rumor mill has begun to heat up again around Adrian after a recent Instagram post of him working out with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
Learned the extremes that Michael & Kobe were willing to go from arguably the greatest trainer of all time from Tim Grover. Watched a proud, high-powered All-Star (Adrian Peterson) train like a rookie trying to make a team. Most of all, witnessed a young 22 yr old quarterback lead a group of NFL vets like a 5-star general. Today was a DAY! #HowCoolIsThis #SlayOn
A post shared by georgewhitfieldjr (@georgewhitfieldjr) on
Winston’s personal quarterback coach, George Whitfield, had also posted a photo of himself alongside Winston, DeSean Jackson, Mike Evan, and Peterson following the Houston Rocket’s game on Tuesday night. During the offseason, it is a normalcy to see players from different teams working out together. However, Adrian Peterson’s current standing as a free agent only makes things more intriguing given that the Buccaneers could very well become a landing spot for him.
In line with that train of thought, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter on Wednesday morning commented on the workout situation involving Peterson and Winston stating he was “anxious” to see what his quarterback had to say about the Pro Bowl running back, according to ESPN.
“I’ve seen Adrian Peterson many times — one of the best running backs to ever play,” Koetter said. Then, after a long pause, he added, “I’m anxious to talk to Jameis and ask him about how his workouts went.”
On top of that, Koetter also sounded noncommittal regarding Doug Martin’s future with the team openly questioning how much longer he can play in the league. Martin is set to enter the second year of his five-year, $35 million deal but Tampa bay is no longer required to pay him the $7 million that are guaranteed in the contract because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy that resulted in a four-game suspension.
Ultimately, all of this could very well put Adrian Peterson in the mix for the Buccaneers as a realistic option in free agency. If they choose to cut ties with Martin, Peterson’s bond with Winston may become a factor in helping convince him to sign with them.
Adrian Peterson is coming off a disappointing 2016 season that saw him limited to just three games due to suffering a significant knee injury. Adrian finished with a career-low 72 rushing yards on 37 carries for a meager 1.9 yards per attempt. Keep in mind, Adrian has played in just 20 games over the last three years because of injuries and a suspension.
There clearly remains plenty of questions around Adrian Peterson’s health and ability at this point in his career, but all signs are pointing toward him signing sooner than later.
[Featured Image by Tony Gutierrez/AP Images]