Adrian Peterson is a strong willed man. He was strong willed in his return from an ACL injury that caused him to run for a near NFL record of 2,097 yards. It was his second season with 10 games of 100 rushing yards or more. The best news for Peterson in this whole ordeal about him wanting to be traded and Minnesota trying to keep him though, is that Peterson has a strong playbook that he can borrow from in order to get traded, and that playbook was designed and drawn up by a former Cincinnati Bengal named Carson Palmer.
After the 2010 NFL season, Carson Palmer said that he wanted to retire or be traded. Palmer was so serious about this that he sat out 8 games of the 2011 season before the Bengals finally decided to trade him. The Bengals of course drafted the Texas Redhead in Andy Dalton from the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian, while Palmer was traded to the Raiders, who had a bigger need since their starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, went down with an injury. The Bengals did get a coup in this trade, as they got a 2012 first round pick, and a conditional 2013 pick. Of course Palmer has since been traded to the Arizona Cardinals as evidence that players are going to find somewhere to play.
Peterson does have a while before being an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season, and he did sign a big money deal, but he would still be the starting running back on many NFL teams, and especially if he can wait until after the season has started, NFL running backs get hurt on a regular basis and Peterson could quite easily find a home.
The other sign of all of this is that the Vikings have already started a bit of a rebuild under coach Mike Zimmer. Getting even a second or third round pick for the 2016 draft or a player that they like would be excellent as the Vikings are building for the future with their second year quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Do the Vikings really want Peterson to hit their salary cap for 15-17 million a year over the next three years? This writer simply thinks it is a matter of time before someone gives the Vikings the deal they just have to accept, because they don't want to be sitting there unable to spend that money, because Peterson is not playing, but is still under contract.
Also, the Vikings have a backup plan at running back in their second year back in Jerick McKinnon, who has been given a clean bill of health after injuring his back last season. They also have Matt Asiata who can back up McKinnon and has shown value as a backup running back in the past when Peterson has gotten hurt. Peterson isn't necessarily a team need, as they played well enough last season without him, but he is a luxury that they would like to have in their lineup for the rough grind that is the NFC North.
Now that it is clear that Adrian should be able to get traded, let's go through some teams that may or may not have an interest in the former Sooner.
Not a Chance- (Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs)
The Seahawks have a talented crew of running backs led by Marshawn Lynch. He is making 12 million a year and it would be crazy to keep the two of them on the roster, and it would be even crazier to trade the quiet running back who just doesn't want to get fined.
The Chiefs have Jamaal Charles. Charles may be one of the running backs in the league that is more elusive then Adrian Peterson, and he is the absolute center of the Chiefs offensive. Peterson will not get traded here.
Too Rich for My Blood- (Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, and Carolina Panthers)
Simply put, all 5 of these teams are paying over 7 million a year for a running back. They don't have enough money for Adrian Peterson on their roster when they are paying Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Jonathan Stewart, respectively over 7 million a year.
A Little Too Late- (St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers)
With the first round selections of Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, they simply have put themselves in a position where they are going to invest in their young talent and not send a later round selection for Peterson.
Young Studs- (Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Similar to the last topic, but with more proven NFL commodities in Eddie Lacy, Giovanni Bernard, and Le'Veon Bell. They are three of the more dynamic young running backs in the league and their teams have no interest in trading for Peterson.
Rebuilding Mode- (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans)
These teams simply shouldn't spend the money on a star running back right now. They have quarterbacks who have never started a game and they need to focus on them and their development instead of a running back that only played in one game in the 2014 season.
As far as teams who wouldn't take Peterson, those are this writer's only picks that would for certain say no. But that's only 14 of the other 31 teams, leaving a decent chance for Peterson to still get moved before the season starts. Let's take a look at 8 teams that might want Peterson instead of their current running back situation.
New York Giants
Sure, they signed Shane Vereen to a decent contract this past off-season, giving him a little over 4 million a year, but if given a chance to have a solid running back like Peterson, you take that chance and probably send Vereen and possibly a fourth rounder to bring Peterson into the Big Apple.
So, you signed a 32 year old Frank Gore this off-season and have struggled to find a running back for a power running game you want to build. Insert Adrian Peterson and that will fix a lot of your problems with the running game. Wait for your opponents to stack the box and then see Andrew Luck throwing it to T.Y. Hilton deep for a touchdown. If this writer were Ryan Grigson, he would trade Gore and a second round pick for Peterson.
Yes, they just recently acquired a Vikings running back through free agency named Toby Gerhart in the last few years. But Gerhart has been a bust and they still need a solid running back to keep the opposing defense away from Blake Bortles. Having Peterson in the backfield certainly would help them look like a better version of Seattle in the East, since Peterson matches up well with Marshawn Lynch as a big physical power running back. They did just draft T.J. Yeldon, which would be one heck of a strong one-two punch.
Peterson has even seemed like he would like to go back to his home state of Texas, and if he could help deliver a title behind that offensive line and Tony Romo at the helm, most people across the state of Texas would act like Peterson had never done anything wrong, plus he would have a chance at breaking the rushing record behind those beefeaters. They definitely could be strong with Peterson and not only have a chance to win the NFC East, but could also possibly acquire home field advantage ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in the challenging NFC. Jerry Jones should be getting Ziggy Wilf on the phone and trying to make a deal as Peterson would be even more dynamic in Dallas.
They have made some bold moves, but this writer thinks this would be another bold move that would be difficult to figure out. Miami did unload Mike Wallace to Minnesota, so unloading Peterson to Miami would be slightly ironic in reverse. They would develop Jay Ajayi for the future and then use Peterson instead of using Lamar Miller for the present, because that's a huge upgrade, plus it would make Ryan Tannehill look even better in the Bill Lazor's offense.
They have taken players that are a higher risk in the past, and seeing Peterson in the silver and black would be a good sight to see. Plus, they have been trying to spend more money and Peterson is a far better running back then Latavius Murray, Trent Richardson, or Roy Helu. It's just a question of how much would they give up for Peterson, and how long would they be able to keep Peterson in their offense, since he would probably want to be traded away from there too.
Devonta Freeman just isn't a typical number one running back. Drafting Tevin Coleman is a good move for the long term future, but this is still a roster largely built on winning in the present. Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, and Roddy White are not going to be getting any younger, and getting Peterson again gives a former Pete Carroll disciple a Marshawn Lynch type of running back.
Andre Ellington is a great change of pace back, but shouldn't be considered as much of a feature back in a power running game. Granted, Bruce Arians doesn't use much of a power running game, but with their strong defense, and if Peterson can get the ball into the end zone instead of using their kicker for field goals, it will make the Cardinals offense just much better for this season and the following few seasons.
These eight teams could drive up the bidding for Peterson, but the proof just shows how there are many teams that would easily desire a running back of Adrian Peterson's stature, so that if he is willing to hold out long enough, the Vikings will find a way to get him off their team and onto another one, while still getting a good value. The main question right now is how long Peterson will need to hold out and just who the Vikings will trade him to, as their are many suitors for a man who has a troubled past, as long as he is still talented enough to play well.