Fantasy football’s biggest “will he or won’t he?” storyline of 2016 continues this week, and it’s not looking great for owners banking on the league’s top running back to help them in the fantasy playoffs.
Adrian Peterson will likely only return to play this season if the Vikings are still in the playoff hunt. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Vikings have just a 29 percent chance of making the playoffs now and just a five percent chance of winning the NFC North. Since their Week 6 bye, Minnesota has gone a horrid 1-6. They face the Jaguars this comingSunday in Jacksonville, and with the way things are going – it’s in no way safe to pencil in a “W” for that one. The Jaguars are having a rough go of it, yes, but they did show life against Denver on Sunday – an eventual 20-10 loss.
Even if the Vikings get by Jacksonville, they’ll be 7-6, and still likely out of the NFC playoff picture. As it stands now, Tampa Bay holds the final wild card spot as it owns a 7-5 record. Washington, currently seventh in the NFC race, is 6-5-1 and ahead of the Vikings thanks to one more Minnesota check mark in the loss column.
Even if the Vikings do beat the Jags, Peterson’s contract situation could come into play. Here’s what ProFootballTalk reported on Dec. 1:
As one source with knowledge of the situation explained it to PFT, Peterson continues to work hard in an effort to get back, and he badly wants to return. At this point, however, it’s not certain that he’ll make it.
One obvious factor becomes whether Peterson’s presence will make a difference. If the Vikings slide out of playoff contention, why bother to rush Peterson back to the field for late-season garbage time?
A less obvious, but nevertheless important, factor is Peterson’s contract. With none of his $18 million in compensation for 2017 guaranteed, it makes no sense for Peterson to jeopardize his earning potential absent assurances for next year.
And so unless the Vikings start winning on a consistent basis, it makes little sense for the team to play Peterson. And unless Peterson genuinely believes that this team can work its way into contention for a Super Bowl appearance, it makes little sense for Peterson to play.