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Adrian Peterson is still waiting.
As incomprehensible as it seemed only a few weeks ago, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history is still waiting for significant pursuit one full week into free agency. Largely thanks to a depressed running backs market and Peterson’s age (he turns 32 on Tuesday), the final destination of the seven-time Pro Bowler remains unknown, even as running backs like Eddie Lacy, Latavius Murray, Danny Woodhead and Rex Burkhead each found landing spots before Peterson.
Where will Peterson go? Well, his morphing list of potential landing spots now appears to be centering on the Raiders, with a league source adding the Green Bay Packers as a possible dark horse in the mix after losing Lacy to the Seattle Seahawks. His run with the Vikings is all but over after Murray, a former Oakland Raider, signed early a deal Thursday morning with Minnesota.
We have signed RB Latavius Murray (@LataviusM).
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) March 16, 2017
Perhaps Murray’s deal with the Vikings will break the contractual ice for Peterson, who is likely to sign a one-year deal wherever he goes. But at least one thing is clear after Peterson has mostly idled in free agency: The market for his services has been far softer than imagined. To the point that the Seahawks doled out a one-year, $4.25 million deal to an overweight Lacy – terms that likely could have landed Peterson at this stage.
Regardless of what Murray draws on the market, league sources are now pegging Peterson’s next deal as landing somewhere in the neighborhood of a one-year, $4 million to $4.5 million pact. That $4 million figure would be considered the “true” money portion of the deal, with the final dollar figure potentially bloated with some less likely to be earned incentives. Ultimately, it could end up being a one-year “show-me” deal with an option for a second season if Peterson were to have an impressive (and healthy) showing in 2017.
The suitors for Peterson still remain fairly murky. The Raiders have been largely quiet in free agency, spending time working on meteoric contract extensions of quarterback Derek Carr and edge rusher Khalil Mack. Oakland has also spent time on deal talks with free-agent tight end Jared Cook. Meanwhile, the Vikings have made Murray a bigger priority, bringing him in for a visit. To date, Minnesota has still not shown contractual interest in signing Peterson. It’s either a sign of the team’s motivations to move on, or some fairly impressive negotiating patience. Either way, it has left Peterson to sit and languish on the market while other running backs like Lacy, Woodhead and Burkhead square deals away.
If Peterson doesn’t quickly follow Murray in the pecking order, teams could begin shifting to cheaper deals and taking deeper dives into college running back prospects via the NFL draft. If that happens, Peterson may have to go back to the drawing board with his ideal landing spot. And that may very well mean another week (or even the end of March) before finding a new home.
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