Welcome to our first “Question of the Week” segment! Each week we will offer a new Vikings-related question to the group of VT writers, and occasionally we’ll have a guest weigh in, too. The responses will be set up in a round table format; we look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments as well!
Where Will Adrian Peterson Play for the 2015-2016 Season?
Brett: While I believe the popular answer will be the Indianapolis Colts, I have a hard time seeing them use another first- (or even second-) round pick to trade for another running back that has question marks. Though a complete shot in the dark, my guess is Peterson will be reunited with his former head coach, Leslie Frazier, in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have an abundance of cap room to handle Peterson’s contract (although, there has been talk of him restructuring his deal to make a trade for him), and they could certainly use a running back. Although Doug Martin had an impressive rookie year, he has been disappointing since. I think reuniting Peterson with Frazier, in a warm climate, in the south, with a team that has a first overall pick to presumably add young talent at quarterback, will be appealing to Peterson. Bonus: The compensation will be the first picks in the 2nd and 4th rounds of the 2015 Draft.
Adam: I was giving the edge to the Vikings right up until Arif reported that the team is trying hard to ship him out. As much as that hurt me to read it, I trust Arif and think the Vikings will ship him to the highest bidder. That bidder will obviously have sufficient cap space to absorb Adrian’s contract or will be enough of a contender to convince him to restructure for a chance at a ring. I think the Browns and Rams have a lot to offer, but in the end I’m going to give Indianapolis and its Super Bowl potential the edge here.
Lindsey: I am going to stick with my initial prediction here and say that AP will end up playing for the Indianapolis Colts. There are a couple reasons that the Colts are my gut instinct. Trent Richardson proved to be a major flop for them at RB, and need someone to fill that void. They are set up well on offense with Andrew Luck, and they can potentially make another run at the Super Bowl in 2016, but they will need to make a big move for that to happen. Indianapolis has $30+ million in cap space to play with, and I really don’t think they’re afraid to use it. Going after Peterson would be an aggressive move but one that would pay off for their short-term goals. Bonus: The Vikings don’t play Indianapolis next season.
Carl: Adrian Peterson’s necessary willingness to restructure his deal coupled with the number of draft picks Spielman can pocket in the transaction will ultimately dictate his future team. The Indianapolis Colts need major help on defense and they have already been burnt once with the Trent Richardson trade, so I don’t see this as a serious destination. The Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals will help drive the interest up enough for Spielman to unload Peterson at a fair price. I think Peterson’s heart is in Texas… specifically with the Cowboys, so that is the logical choice for me. I don’t think the Cowboys will offer a block buster trade, but I can see the Vikings taking a 2nd or 3rd round pick and also swapping (Vikings) pick #45 with (Cowboys) pick #27, allowing Spielman to walk away with two first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Brent: It’s difficult to say exactly, but I have a few guesses. I’d like to think/hope the Vikings trade him to an AFC team. I want nothing to do with Peterson in the NFC, nor should the Vikings. I know a lot of people have suggested Indianapolis, and I think that’s as good as a guess as any. I’ve said a few times I could see New England getting into the mix as well. I’d say a dark horse candidate might be Buffalo, with $30M in cap space and looking to replace CJ Spiller and create an identity on offense. Doesn’t look like they’ll be able to improve at QB this year, so they need to jump start the offense somehow. Peterson would fit Rex Ryan’s hard nosed football demeanor and you could argue Peterson could be the missing piece for a team that was 9-7 last year. Of course, this is all conjecture at this point.
Arif: He plays in Dallas, because no where will he find more support from an owner or a fan base—two things that he’s indicated are really big to him. Does anyone think that Jerry Jones will be “disloyal” to Peterson? Beyond that, it seems like his wife has a bearing on this trade, and they live not too far away from Arlington. Adrian can run behind that OL alongside a premier receiver and a very good quarterback. Jerry Jones has toned down his impulsive decision-making, but I don’t think he’s gotten rid of it, and clearing space for Peterson sounds just like him.