Sorry Vikings fans, but the time has come. You’ve had the privilege of watching one of the best running backs in NFL history and now it’s time for you to send him packing.
It’s all his fault only because he is so good. Adrian Peterson has done some amazing things since the Vikings drafted him in 2007 and now it’s time to part ways and here’s why.
Since he has been in the NFL Peterson has accumulated 9,130 rushing yards and 79 rushing touchdowns along with 1,578 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns.
At the age of 28 he doesn’t seem to be slowing down although history tells us that he is likely closer to a regression in his production than he is to a dramatic improvement. He has done this while going a collective 49-50 (including games this season).
He has been a part of three winning seasons for the Vikings, having gone to the playoffs in each of those seasons. At times he has been surrounded with some great talent and at other times he has been the only talent worth watching on offense for the Vikings (see the current 2013 season).
Arguably the best quarterback that he has played with has been Brett Favre during the 2009 and 2010 seasons and that was when Favre was grasping at straws to play as long as he could. And obviously you can’t forget about his season ending ACL tear and how he followed that up with a historical comeback last year.
Here’s the bottom line; Peterson has done all of these things without consistent support from other positions on the field and he looks like he could be able to continue to produce at this level for a few more years.
But the Minnesota Vikings need some help. They need a lot of help. Probably more help than one trade, one draft, or one coach can give them. But dealing Peterson would be a huge start to their turn around. The Vikings have the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL draft so they should have some help coming.
But they will need more than one rookie to turn this thing around. They picked up Cordarrelle Patterson in last years draft and Jerome Simpson has shown flashes of production this season and they expect them to continue to improve and contribute as the season and their careers go along.
But what if the Vikings could turn the franchise around as quickly as the beginning of next season? Instead of picking a few teams and giving some crazy, yet possible options, here’s what I believe is the best thing the Vikings could do (and yes, it’s also crazy, yet possible).
So far this season there is a team that has absolutely tanked. This team will likely pick in the two through five range of the upcoming draft. Amazingly this team also has some major playmakers, but has been unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
In the past couple of days this team has stated that they will make a major change at one of their skill positions, actually the most important skill position. That team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 0-3 the Bucs will be active early in the 2014 NFL Draft. This team sports the talent of running back Doug Martin, and wide receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson. And just this week they announced that rookie Mike Glennon from N.C. State will get his first start this Sunday. The Vikings should be interested in this team.
Here’s the trade. The Vikings send Peterson and possibly another option (money, late round pick, another lesser used player)to the Bucs. In return the Bucs send Josh Freeman and Martin to the Vikings. On the Vikings' end they get a skilled quarterback that for some reason can’t get things going in Tampa Bay. They also get a top five running back who is four years younger than Peterson.
The Vikings, like the Buccaneers, will also pick early in the draft and will have players like Teddy Bridgewater, Jadaveon Clowney, and Tajh Boyd to choose from. If the Freeman experiment doesn’t work out in Minnesota then the Vikings will have the chance to start fresh with a new quarterback if they choose to use their pick in that way. Either way, the current, young wide receiver squad of the Vikings gets an upgrade and the holes begin to open up for the talented running back in Martin.
On the Buccaneers' side obviously they get one of the best running backs to ever play the game. Age isn’t something that they should be concerned with. Peterson has shown freakish ability to come back from what is a career-ending injury for some players.
More often than not, he looks like a better player than he did before his injury. With the addition of Peterson, a lot of pressure is immediately taken off of the new quarterback in Glennon. How would it feel to be thrust into the middle of the season as the new starting, rookie, quarterback of an NFL team?
It would feel a lot different if the guy taking handoffs from you was A.P. Peterson would likely welcome the change since he would be playing with not only more experienced wide receivers who could help open up the field for him, but also with a different offensive line.
While the Bucs' offensive line hasn’t been amazing, it can’t be any worse than what Peterson is having to deal with in Minnesota. And if by the end of the season, Tampa Bay feels like Glennon isn’t going to work out, they could use their early pick to get a quarterback.
The bonus of this whole deal for Tampa Bay would be if Glennon did work out and the Bucs decided to use their pick on the defensive side of the ball and were fortunate enough to get Clowney. Again, it’s crazy, but possible.