Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson already has mentioned the New York Giants as a possibility if he didn’t return to the team that drafted him 10 years ago. That was the first hint that Peterson would be open to wearing blue instead of purple next season.
This tweet from Peterson on Wednesday night only adds to the intrigue.
The Giants been making some interesting moves.
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) February 16, 2017
Interesting if you’re trying to pressure the Vikings into releasing you or renegotiating at a reasonable rate? Peterson is set to make an unpalatable $18 million this season at 31 years old and after missing almost all of last year with a knee injury. Interesting if the departure of the recently released Rashad Jennings opens a spot for a different veteran running back? Interesting in that Peterson still thinks Victor Cruz is an elite receiver and was surprised to see him straight discarded rather than the Giants trying to renegotiate with him?
Peterson’s one-liner will hang in the Twitterverse now for a time period to be determined. If he’s eventually released by the Vikings it will certainly be favorited a few extra times. In the meantime, it sparks conversations and rumors about the potential of the former All-Pro running back landing with the Giants.
But what the tweet really means right now is that Peterson is interested in the Giants. It’s uncertain if that interest is one-sided because Peterson is still under contract with the Vikings and nobody in the Giants' organization would dare comment about a player on another team’s roster for fear of tampering charges.
It’s far from a slam dunk that the Giants, despite their need for another running back with only Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen with any experience under contract, would reciprocate the interest. Peterson has a troubled past after being suspended six games in 2014 under the personal conduct policy for his involvement in a child-abuse case. That could make him untouchable to the Giants on the heels of their experience with kicker Josh Brown and his domestic violence admissions this past season.
That doesn’t even factor in that Peterson likely isn’t the same player he once was and might not even realize it just yet. He’s going to be 32 next month (ancient for an NFL running back) and coming off a season where he rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries in parts of three games. Peterson’s campaign was hampered and ruined by torn meniscus in his knee.
So there is health, age and history that could deter the Giants. What could attract interest is if Peterson comes at a bargain, say, one year at $3 million to $4 million. That provides ample upside for the risk and criticism they could face given his past troubles. Peterson is a future Hall of Fame running back who has already come back from multiple serious injuries. He’s almost freakish in a sense in that regard, providing hope that there is at least one more productive or standout season remaining in the body and knees of the former 2,000-yard rusher.
Is the reward worth the risk or the potential to compromise their integrity? The Giants thought so last offseason when they knew Brown was being investigated by the league for domestic violence and handed him a two-year, $4 million contract anyway. Peterson is a different scenario in that he is a different level player who brings even more scrutiny and attention.
Or the Giants more likely will say “no thanks” and find their backfield partner for Perkins in one of the most loaded running back drafts in recent years.