It came as no surprise that the Vikings decided not to pay the recently-oft injured and recently highest paid NFL running back Adrian Peterson for another season.
Peterson did not play in 2016, is nearly 32 years old and was due to be paid $18 million in 2017.
So now, the question is how much does he have left in the tank? And what is he worth?
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Given his track history, he'll likely be snatched up pretty quickly when NFL free agency opens on March 9. Here's a brief look at the five most likely contenders for his services this spring.
Peterson has already said publicly he would love to play in Dallas, he is a Texas guy afterall. And according to NFLinsider Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys are interested in pairing him with Ezekiel Elliott in their backfield. Imagine that combination.
The issue of course, is if he would be willing to play in a RB2 role where Elliott gets the lion share of carries. Their world-class offensive line could be the best selling point for Big D.
Rashad Jennings is leaving town and Paul Perkins isn't quite ready to take over as the featured back in New York, giving Peterson an interesting situation with the Giants. If he's willing to bet on himself with a short-term deal (which frankly, at 32 he'll likely be forced to), the Giants are an attractive destination for a guy who is chasing a Super Bowl ring.
Former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbridesaid on PFT Live that Jerry Reese would make a deal — if the price was right.
Latavius Murray is a free agent and could get a big deal somewhere outside of Las Vegas. That leaves one of the best up-and-coming NFL franchises with a bevy of young running backs —DeAndre Washington, Taiwan Jones and Jalen Richard — but no true future No. 1. Peterson would be a great compliment to this unit and a stopgap while the team looks to step into the echelon of the elite teams in football.
Another team with a big name free agent, the Packers could lose Eddie Lacy this offseason. And perhaps they are OK with that, as the power back had great difficulty staying on the field over the last few years. Green Bay's struggles at running back were no secret as the team was forced to use Ty Montgomery, a wide receiver by trade, at the spot this season. Peterson could perhaps have given the offense a second dimension and made the difference in the playoffs last January.
Just because he's been released doesn't mean the door is shut. Clearly running back is an area of need for Minnesota and there's still a chance they will be in the position to offer him the best deal. He also knows the Vikings best — he's been there his entire career — and there would be no learning curve with a new offensive scheme or personnel should he return.