Where would Adrian Peterson fit best in the next phase of his career? SI's experts make their picks.
Ben Baskin: Dallas Cowboys. I’m not sure if Adrian Peterson would accept being the second back on a team at this point in his career (he should), but in a hypothetically perfect would he’d be a Cowboy next season. No matter how much tread he has left on the tires, AP running behind the Dallas offensive line—where he could get a head of steam on every rush before being touched—is a scary thought. And for opposing defenses, dealing with Ezekiel Elliott and then Adrian-freaking-Peterson as a change-of-pace back, well, that is nightmare-inducing. Plus Peterson would be a highly respected voice in that young huddle.
Chris Burke: New York Giants. Peterson no doubt is looking for a clear-cut starting job, but he may have to settle for a situation like this, where he could split carries with Paul Perkins and handle most of the short-yardage work. Peterson is going on 32, played just three games last season and looked lethargic when he was out there. His pursuit should be more about the proper fit than about breaking the bank, at this point.
Jacob Feldman: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In many ways, Minnesota is still the best home for AP, given how soft the running back market is. But it seems increasingly likely that Peterson is headed elsewhere. If so, there are only a few competitive teams with power-run schemes and money to burn, making Tampa a likely landing spot.
Jonathan Jones: Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have one of the top offensive lines with one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. Latavius Murray was good last year, but not that good. Peterson has miles and injuries on him, but the best running back in this generation has something left in the tank. With a healthy Peterson and Derek Carr, the Raiders could challenge the Patriots for the AFC crown next year.
Bette Marston: Carolina Panthers. The tandem of Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Stewart would work well for both coach and player alike. Carolina’s scheme works with two running backs, and Peterson, given his recent injuries, wouldn’t be forced to shoulder a full load.
Eric Single: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no easy fit for a running back Peterson’s age with Peterson’s recent injury history, but the Buccaneers have the cap space to grit their teeth and take a flier on him—anything to improve an injury-plagued run game that finished in the bottom five in yards per attempt last season. Peterson won’t exactly see a dramatic upgrade in O-line play from his time in Minnesota, but depending on Doug Martin’s standing with the team come September, Tampa Bay could be the place where he’s guaranteed the most work.