Packers? Raiders? Adrian Peterson has options beyond Vikings
INDIANAPOLIS -- Speculation about Adrian Peterson's next team heated up Wednesday, a day after the Vikings declined to pick up his $18 million contract option, making him a free agent March 9.
INDIANAPOLIS - Speculation about Adrian Peterson's next team heated up Wednesday, a day after the Vikings declined to pick up his $18 million contract option, making him a free agent March 9.
The Vikings can re-sign him at a lower cost, but that seems unlikely, for several reasons. Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, general manager Rick Spielman seemed lukewarm to the prospect.
"The one thing you can't predict is what the market's going to be," he said.
Peterson's representatives can begin talking to other teams on March 7. While Peterson has expressed interest in returning to Minnesota, he told ESPN in January he was looking at teams that could use a running back, including the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans.
Giants coach Bob McAdoo said Wednesday the team will "look at" Peterson.
On Tuesday, Peterson's father, Nelson, told the Pioneer Press that Oakland, Green Bay and New England were possible suitors, and a source said Peterson is interested in the Raiders, a playoff team last season.
That makes sense, Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson said Wednesday.
"The Raiders or the Packers, those two teams would be a real good fit for him,'' Dickerson said in a phone interview. "Those two teams would be for the best spot for him.''
Oakland's leading rusher last season was Latavius Murray with 788 yards but will be a free agent and might not be re-signed. A series of injuries forced the Packers to move receiver Ty Montgomery to running back midway through last season.
Peterson and his agent, Ben Dogra, were notified last Friday that Spielman that his contract option would not be exercised.
"I was very specific. ... I told him there were some areas we would like to address," Spielman said Wednesday.
The Vikings don't have a first-round pick, and their second-round selection will either be 46th or 47th overall, depending upon a Friday coin flip. The draft is deep at running back.
"I don't remember this amount of running backs coming out," Spielman said. "There's a significant amount of talent."
The NFL salary cap was set Wednesday at $167 million, an increase from $155.27 million. When adjustments are considered, OvertheCap.com lists the Vikings' cap space as $167.4 million, leaving them with nearly $38 million to spend in free agency and for draft picks.
"If you go specifically after some positions in free agency, and we're planning to spend X amount of dollars, and all of a sudden those dollars increase because of the amount of cap space teams have, then we have to adjust our game plan," Spielman said. "... I don't know how all the pieces are going to fit from a financial standpoint.''
With Peterson limited to just three games last season because of injuries, the Vikings ranked last among the NFL's 32 teams in rushing yards per game (75.3) and per carry (3.2). Jerick McKinnon had a team-high 539 yards and a 3.4-yard average. Matt Asiata, an impending free agent, had 402 yards and a 3.3 average.
Peterson, who turns 32 on March 21, gained just 72 yards on 37 carries. But with seven career Pro Bowl selections under his belt, he will command interest in free agency if the price is right. Dickerson said Peterson can still play but his days of 300 carries a season are over.
"When you get to that age and you get hurt a couple of times, they don't want to pay you," Dickerson said. "You know how that goes. But I'd like to see him go to a team that has a (title) shot and a good offensive line."
Dickerson, who played for the Raiders in 1992, said Peterson could be a key piece for them.
"They've got a young nucleus with a good young quarterback (Derek Carr), and they've got one of the best offensive lines,'' Dickerson said.
Pairing Peterson with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, he added, could push the Packers to a title. "Oh, man, for sure. With Aaron Rodgers there, that would take pressure off (Peterson) and give him less carries."