Here’s something I never thought I would be writing about in 2020. After all, Adrian Peterson has been playing since I was a bachelor who thought macaroni and cheese was as fancy as dinner got. But here we are. Peterson was released by the Washington Football Team on Friday and now the idea of him playing for the Lions actually makes quite a bit of sense.
Hear me out. For starters, Peterson has a history with Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell was a key part in Peterson’s early development, running the Vikings’ offense from 2006 to 2010. That rapport could be one of the reasons the Lions are an attractive destination for the running back.
In addition to that, the Lions are in need of a guy that can be a power runner that doesn’t require a heavy workload, especially since Bo Scarbrough’shinjury concerns have continued to manifest itself since his somewhat successful NFL debut in Detroit last year. Peterson can be that guy. In 2019, he ran for 898 yards and five touchdowns on 211 carries. The Lions would need him to do less than half of that since D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson will be doing most of the work.
You have to believe that’s the best role for Peterson at this time. He’s 35 years old, and he’s ran the ball 3,036 times in his NFL career—eighth most of anyone in NFL history. It’s hard to believe that any team would be overly excited to use him in a major role like Washington did. A role like this extends Peterson’s career—obviously not for much longer, but maybe for another few years if he decides to go the Frank Gore route. Of course, Frank Gore is a vampire and can’t die. So it’s not exactly the same.
There really aren’t any better options out there. The Lions could choose to just stick with Scarbrough and see where that takes them. Although some, myself included, don’t think Scarbrough makes the team in the end. That leaves the Lions with guys like Ty Johnson and Jason Huntley, who definitely are not a bruisers.
The Lions did just bring in D’Onta Foreman for a workout on Friday, suggesting they are exploring their power back options. But aside from him, the free agent market is full of guys like Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell—guys that may have already played their final snap of NFL football.
With Peterson, the Lions can fill this role with an experienced player and former superstar at an inexpensive rate. Last year Paterson made just over $2 million. That’s nothing for a team that has the eighth most cap space available in the league.
If the Lions are indeed interested, they need to act fast. According to Tom Pelissero, there were already three teams that had inquired about Peterson on Friday afternoon. Bob Quinn should at the very least make a phone call on this one.