After a decade of pulling on the same jersey year after year, Adrian Peterson may wear the colors of a different NFL team when the 2017 season rolls around. The Minnesota Vikings decided against picking up Peterson’s 2017 option that would pay him $18 million dollars for the upcoming season. This amount of money for a running back who can’t pass block, and can’t catch the ball out of the backfield in today’s pass happy NFL is absurd. In order for Peterson to put the purple and gold back on in 2017, he would have to agree to something in the six to nine million dollar range. This move did not come as a surprise, but now that the move was made both parties can move on and work to get better.

What is next for Adrian Peterson?

The market for a 31 year old running back in the NFL is a small one. Most running backs that age have been chilling on a beach sipping on Mai Tais for a couple of years, but this is no ordinary 31 years old we are talking about, it is the superhuman robot that is Adrian Peterson. He may also be younger in football years. Two of the past three years Peterson had carried the ball less than 40 times due to an injury last year and a 15 game suspension in 2014.

With a player of Peterson’s pedigree, there will be no shortage of interest from NFL teams, with interest comes rumors. Differentiating the false rumors from the legit ones is nearly impossible, you would have a better chance at winning the lottery.

Peterson has already been linked to many possible teams: Giants, Packers, Texans, Raiders, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Cowboys and more. When it is all said and done AP has been rumored to nearly half of the teams in the NFL. The major question mark for teams looking to sign Peterson is how much gas he actually has left in the tank.

Wherever Peterson lands, he will attempt to prove people wrong like he has his entire career.

What is next for the Vikings?

Minnesota had one of the worst rushing offenses in the league last year, and now they may be parting ways with their starting running back. Much of the rushing problems can be attributed to the well-documented offensive line problem.

The $18 million in cap space that opened up from declining Peterson’s option could help the Vikings bolster the offensive line.

As far as replacing Peterson, the starting running back on the roster at the moment is Jerick McKinnon, who only averaged 3.4 Yards Per Carry. In order for the rushing game to improve, an upgrade at the position is needed. Two veteran running backs have recently come on the market, Jamaal Charles and Latavius Murray. Charles just recently got released from the Chiefs. He is a little long in the tooth and has been injury prone, but he does average 5.5 yards per carry which ranks as the most in NFL history for a player with over 1,000 rushing attempts. Murray is a big back at 6’3 and 230 pounds; he could help the Vikings in their struggle to pick up short yardage plays.

In 2015 Murray was able to rush for more than 1,000 yards.

The Vikings could also choose to draft a running back. The only problem is that because the Vikings traded for Sam Bradford at the beginning of the 2016 season the team does not own a first round pick. By the time the Vikings have their first pick most of the top prospects will be off the board. Joe Mixon may be the most talented running back in this draft, but he does come with a lot of baggage. Mixon was convicted of an assault on a fellow Oklahoma female student at a sandwich shop. Whoever chooses to draft Mixon will go through a public relations nightmare, but there will be somebody that gives him a chance.

Minnesota also still has a chance to re-sign Peterson.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman stated, “We will continue to have conversations with his representatives and leave our future options open.” Although there may be a chance that Minnesota could re-sign Peterson, it looks more and more like the two will be parting ways.

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