If Adrian Peterson wants to play another four or five seasons, he’ll have to find a new home to continue Hall of Fame career.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported that the Washington Football Team is releasing the running back, per sources informed of the situation. The team later confirmed the decision.
After 10 years in Minnesota and a year split between New Orleans and Arizona, Peterson landed in Washington and immediately became the lead back.
All Day galloped for 1,042 yards in 2018 and 898 yards in 2019, leading Washington both seasons. Despite being 35 years old, Peterson still showed he can pound the rock. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 211 attempts last year, which included earning more 20-yard rushes (six) than big names like Todd Gurley, Aaron Jones and Alvin Kamara (five) and Ezekiel Elliott (four).
Coach Ron Rivera spoke of the leadership Peterson brought to a young RB room. But when push came to shove as cuts approach this weekend, Washington decided to go with younger, more versatile backs.
While Peterson took a number of first-team reps during training camp and was in line to start, rookie Antonio Gibson stood out. The third-rounder brings a pass-catching threat and should be the biggest beneficiary of A.D.’s release. Washington also has Bryce Love and Peyton Barber to take the early-down snaps and J.D. McKissic as a pass-catching back.
Barber is a between-the-tackles runner who had a strong camp and could take the reps ticketed for Peterson. But Love is a player to keep an eye on. After a college injury wiped out his rookie season, if he’s fully healthy, a pairing of Love and Gibson could give Washington a dynamic young RB duo.
Cutting Peterson comes after Washington released Derrius Guice following a domestic violence arrest last month.
Even if he no longer all-world, Peterson can still break tackles and occasionally pop a big one. His biggest hindrance to landing another job will be finding an offense that works around his skill set. As a first- and second-down back rarely featured in the pass-game, A.D. is a relic of another era who stuck around this long out of talent and willpower. We saw how he was an ill-fit in New Orleans. It’s likely a team that wants to play heavy shotgun and use its backs as pass-catchers would not entertain adding Peterson.
Still, the future Hall of Famer has proven he still has some juice left. He might have to wait for injuries to pile up to get a shot at continuing his career and keep alive the slim hopes of one day catching Emmitt Smith for the all-time rushing record.
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