There’s a good chance Adrian Peterson won’t play another game for the Minnesota Vikings this season due to his most recent injury. However, the team might actually be better off for it.
Peterson suffered an injury during the Vikings 17-14 win over the Green Bay Packers. Prognosis? Partially torn meniscus and an LCL injury, with unclear severity. The speculation now is whether or not Peterson can actually play again this season. He’s 31, with a lot of yards and carries on his legs, including a career high 327 last season, also leading the NFL. Signs of decline have begun to show since before the injury, and considering how expensive it is to keep him around, maybe he won’t play another game for the Vikings, unless he’s back from his injury this season.
Peterson has only 50 yards on 31 carries in 2016, with the Vikings going 2-0 without too much production from their offense in general. He averaged only 3.57 yards per carry in his final six regular season games last season, breaking the 70-yard barrier just once, and also producing 18 yards in a loss to the Seahawks. He ran for just 45 yards on 23 carries in the playoff game against the Seahawks. In his last 3 games, he has 54 carries and only 95 yards, an embarrassing 1.75 yards per rush.
With that kind of production, it’s no wonder the Vikings are possibly relieved knowing that this might be the end of the Peterson era. He became less and less productive last season, and could be at that point in which running backs all get to at one point or another: Not good enough, and that’s that. Peterson becomes a free agent at the end of the 2017 season, but cutting him after 2016 means $18 million in cap space for the Vikings and no dead money. It makes all the sense in the world to go in that direction, unless Peterson is willing to take a massive pay cut.
The Vikings will try and fill Peterson’s spot with production from Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and Ronnie Hillman. McKinnon has hardly been used this season, but averaged 5.2 yards per carry in 2015. Asiata is more of the fullback type, and had a pretty good 2014 with nine touchdowns. Hillman helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl last season, rushing for 863 yards and scoring 7 touchdowns. That didn’t help him land a team until now.