Adrian Peterson Speculates Future on ESPN’s First Take

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been in the NFL for nearly 10 years now. He still doesn’t know what is appropriate to say to the media.

The three-time rushing champion appeared on ESPN’s First Take on Thursday and wasn’t afraid to share how he really feels about his contract and future playing days.

Here are a few highlights from Peterson’s segment.

  • He still believes he has five “strong” more years left. Or, as Max Kellerman put it, not “some approximation of Adrian Peterson.” Reminder: Peterson rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 yards per carry) this season.
  • He believes he’s “earned” his impending $18 million salary for the 2017 season. Reminder (again): Peterson rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 yards per carry) this season.
  • His number one priority is still winning a championship.
  • He specifically mentioned three teams that he’s thought of joining — the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Houston Texans.
  • His criteria for a prospective, hypothetical team includes a good defense, a good offensive scheme, and a great coaching staff in need of a running back.

There are two positives to take away from Peterson’s segment on First Take. First, the man is oozing with confidence. It’s probably too much confidence, but I hope to be that confident about anything in my life someday.

The second positive aspect was Peterson’s admission that his number one priority is to win a championship. In that aspect, he has the right mentality for a 30-year-old running back.

The rest of the segment is hardly beneficial to Peterson’s dealings with the Vikings. His smirks and assured remarks regarding his $18 million salary aren’t a good look; especially given how the value of a running back like Peterson has declined so drastically the past few years.

It’s also a tad ironic how Peterson’s “perfect-world” scenario fits the identity of the Vikings. Good defense? Check. Great coaching staff? Check. In need of a running back? Check. Good offensive scheme? Maybe. There aren’t a ton of teams in the NFL that will go 3.5-for-4 in that scenario.

Peterson’s specific mention of the Giants, Texans, and Buccaneers also raises red flags heading into the offseason. I’ll give him a pass on the Giants because the First Take crew offered a bit of peer pressure there. But he absolutely did not have to go out of his way to mention Tampa Bay and Houston as well.

This segment is good news for those members of the Purple and Gold faithful that have clamored for Peterson’s departure. His comments certainly didn’t improve his chances of strengthening relationships with the front office and remaining in Minnesota for 2017.

It’s remarkable how Peterson’s dealt with the media as a high-profile figure for a decade now and still has no grasp of what is appropriate to say on record.

As for me, I’m very appreciative of what Peterson has done for the Vikings since he was drafted in 2007, but it’s time to part ways. If he wants to depart by self-destructing, I guess that’s fine by me.

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Drew Mahowald

Drew Mahowald is a student at Saint John's University (MN) majoring in Media Communication. He proclaims himself as the number one fan of Little Caesars pizza and Jim Kleinsasser. The first Vikings game Drew remembers watching is the 41-0 blowout loss to the Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship game. Despite this, he has developed a deep knowledge and passion for the team. When he isn't writing about the Vikings, Drew is usually out golfing with friends or eating Little Caesar's pizza. You can find more of his work at CanisHoopus.com, the SB Nation affiliate Minnesota Timberwolves blog, or on Twitter at @DrewMahowald.

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  1. Reminder (again): Peterson rushed for 72 yards on 37 carries (1.9 yards per carry) this season. —and a fumble for a turnover.

  2. Reminder: At the age of 28, Peterson ran for 1,266 yards and 10 TD’s and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. At the age of 30, he ran for 1,485 yards and 11 TD’s and again averaged 4.5 yards per rush. He was healthy when he was suspended for the 2014 season, and the last time he came back from a serious injury, he ran for over 2,000 yards and averaged a staggering 6 yards/carry.

    No one is going to pay Peterson $18 million for one season, not in this era, at his age, and coming off of a serious injury. Nevertheless, he has earned the right to less snarkiness and more respect from Vikings fans. And, just maybe, the benefit of the doubt that he may in fact be able to supplant John Riggins as the greatest over-30 running back in the history of professional football.

    1. CK, I have been one of AD’s biggest fans, but this is not the same humble young man that came into the league with a team first mentality a decade ago. Back then, I truly felt this was going to be the best player the NFL had ever seen, because not only did he have freakish athletic skills, he had an unquestioned work ethic and an unselfishness you rarely see in a star player. Ever since the child abuse suspension, the attitude piece has taken a sharp turn in the other direction. There is a selfishness there that just was never present before, and this last season was really the tipping point for me. I’ll clarify that I actually have zero problem with him choosing to properly fix his knee and prolong his absence from the lineup, but I have a huge problem with how he went on his own radio network to announce he was coming back and then put the final nail in the Vikings season by fumbling away the teams last chance at a comeback against the Colts.
      I don’t think Adrian has a clue what his actual financial value to a team is. That puts the Vikings in a difficult position to re-negotiate his contract because he is going to take any reasonable offer the team presents him with as an insult. Realistically he should only be making $4-5 million a year with incentives that can push the value up if he can stay on the field and perform. Anything more than that and the team is overpaying. I think it may actually be better to just give him an outright release to let him test the waters and let other teams give him a reality check on his value. I really don’t want to see the Vikes overpay him for another couple years, especially with one of the best RB draft classes staring us in the face. Teams are going to find high end starting RB’s on the 2nd and 3rd day of the draft, and knowing that will further reduce Adrian’s value around the league. If other teams give him the lowball offers, he may be more willing to come back here at a salary that is proper. Of course, this isn’t even mentioning the fact that he probably doesn’t fit the direction the offense is going and they may decide they don’t want him back at any price just for scheme reason’s. I look at how Detroit actually improved on offense this past season without Calvin Johnson and wonder if the Vikings could have similar improvements without AD.

    2. cka2nd — Peterson has certainly established himself as one of the greatest running backs of all-time. He’s certainly a Top 5 pure rusher of all-time, in my opinion. He just doesn’t fit what the Vikings’ plans anymore.

      He certainly might get to the John Riggins level you alluded to, it just won’t be in Minnesota in my opinion.

  3. In the post-season, the Peterson led Vikings are 1-4. AP has rushed for 412 yards on a 3.55 ypc. He has fumbled 3 times. Those against the Saints and Seahawks come readily to mind. Point is, he has been pretty average when it comes to leading his team to a championship. I would think that Rick Spielman is already thinking of ways to spend 18 million dollars if AP won’t take a huge pay cut.

    1. Adrian Peterson is no Reggie Jackson or Joe Montana, I will grant you that. But he didn’t lose us a single one of those games.

      0-1 with Tavaris Jackson (45.4 QBR), Peterson was 20 for 83 with two TD’s (GOOD game)

      1-1 with Brett Favre (134.4 QBR), AD was 26 for 43 (BAD game)

      1-2 with Favre (70.0 QBR), AD was 25 for 122 with three TD’s and two fumbles, both of which were recovered by the Vikings, unlike three of the other four Vikings fumbles (Excellent game reduced to GOOD because of the fumbles)

      1-3 with Joe Webb (54.9 QBR), AD was 22 for 99 (GOOD game)

      1-4 with a second-year Teddy Bridgewater (86.5 QBR) outplaying Russell Wilson, AD was 23 for 45 with one fumble lost to Seattle (BAD game, but a defensive struggle that we could have still won if not for Jeff Locke’s bad hold and Blair Walsh’s missed field goal)

      So, three good games by Peterson where the poor play and turnovers of others cost us the wins versus two bad games of his offset in one case and almost offset in the other. The only loss that he materially contributed to was in the Seattle game, and even there it was secondary to a last minute missed kick that he played no part in.

      My point is, even great running backs can almost never carry their teams to championships with mediocre to lousy quarterback play. The single example that I can think of is Jamal Lewis and the 2000 Ravens. Otherwise only good QB’s either excelled in the playoffs or the Super Bowl (Jim Plunkett, Jeff Hostettler), had Pro Bowl seasons (Brad Johnson) or did both (Mark Rypien). Peterson carried two mediocre teams into the playoffs (2008 & 2012), one squad with an excellent offense and good defense (2009) and one more with an excellent defense and mediocre passing game (2015). There’s only so much he could be expected to do, and his mistakes and failures get blown out of proportion vis a vis his own play and that of the rest of the team.

      I know, I know, I’m spending WAY too much time on this topic…

  4. The main thing with Peterson is for good reason he has a ego, However going forward theres no way he can back that up. That money without question has to go to fixing the O Line especially when Clemmings is so weak at his position. It was embarrassing to watch him flap his arms like a newborn chicken only to have Bradford get creamed.