No. 49: Adrian Peterson
With Sam Bradford being brought in on the fly to replace injured quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (ACL), the defending NFC North champs may have no choice but to lean on Adrian Peterson more than ever. And with Peterson set to become a free agent, this fall could very well be his last year in Minnesota. We’ve seen this happen before. Two seasons ago in Dallas, the Cowboys had a workhorse back in a free-agent year. Knowing DeMarco Murray might not have a future in Big D, the Cowboys road him hard (449 regular-season touches for 1,845 yards) on their way to winning the NFC East crown. The NFL’s leading rusher that year was rewarded with a ticket out of town. Peterson has never had more than 388 touches in a year. To get back to the playoffs, he might have to be effective for 400-plus. Will he also be shown the door?
— Gary Gramling