NFL career windows are not long at all, and when you're talking about the running back position, that window is even smaller. When 30-year-old Adrian Peterson had a top 3 rushing campaign in the 2015 season, he became the exception. However, time caught up to him rather quickly in the following season in which he spent most of his time recovering from a torn meniscus. Fast forward to the 2017 draft. The Vikings select Florida State standout Dalvin Cook in the second round, and we all know what happens next. An aged superstar is supplanted by a high-ceiling rookie with tantalizing agility and a great motor to boot; it's happened before, end of story.

Or is it?

The stars are aligning

Dalvin Cook looked like more than a serviceable replacement for a 7-time pro-bowler. Having a 4.8 yard per carry average, a couple touchdowns, and receiving prowess is enough to make him a top back in the league, not just among rookies. Then comes October 1, a day that Vikings fans won't quickly forget. Cook tore his ACL in non-contact fashion after a promising start to the game, and will, unfortunately, miss the remainder of the season.

The Vikings just can't get a break when it comes to injuries: their quarterback of the future (is he still?) in Teddy Bridgewater is still recovering from a brutal 2016 injury that almost cost him his leg, CBS Sports reported. His replacement, Sam Bradford, always seems to be banged up and has already missed multiple games this season.

And of course Peterson.

How is Peterson faring in 2017? Well, you can look at his October 1st game to paint the story. Four rushes on four attempts versus a suspicious Dolphins defense. Coming into the year, it was projected that he would be in a timeshare with Mark Ingram, the obvious lead-back for New Orleans. Instead, Peterson looks like the 3rd best back on his own team behind Ingram and rookie Kamara.

Is it really fair to judge Peterson based on stats alone? I don't think so, which is how I'll transition into why the Vikings might want him back.

Why a return?

Not only did the Vikings draft Cook in the 2017 draft, but they signed former Raiders rusher Latavius Murray as well, making the Vikings' situation a bit more confusing than how I explained it.

There were talks before the season that the two might split time evenly, but the preseason made it clear that Cook was the guy. Now comes Murray's opportunity to be the guy, which he proved he could be back in Oakland. Minnesota loves to lean on their run game whenever possible, and with Case Keenum at the helm until Bradford returns, they'll be looking at Murray to pick up where Cook left off if they have any hope of scoring. What would Peterson bring to the table?

As I mentioned, Minnesota loves to run it, and that volume is part of what made Peterson so successful in the first place. There will be plenty of carries to go around, and unlike as it is in New Orleans, the hierarchy won't be totally cemented.

Peterson's shown some flashes when given the rock, and other times been a complete blunder. Perhaps coming back home will be enough to manifest what he has left in the tank instead of wasting away on the Saints. Past that, his presence would mean a lot for a team that has been going through one heck of a roller coaster the past few seasons. Peterson's not best known for his locker room appeal, but I think his experience in New Orleans might just be enough to mellow him out.

By the way, who wouldn't want a story like this? At the end of the day, Peterson will be known as the greatest Vikings running back to ever lace 'em up (sorry Foreman), and if the organization and the man himself both desire a return, who's to stop them? Oh, the 2-year, 7 million dollar contract might be a slight roadblock. He obviously wasn't planning to go back, but it might now be his best option.