Plenty would need to happen before this could go from a rumor to a possibility and then, maybe, a reality, but it looks like there is at least a chance the Arizona Cardinals could land one of the game’s premier running backs.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson, while Adrian Peterson has not completely ruled out a return to the Minnesota Vikings, if he decides to leave he’s willing to restructure his contract in order to facilitate a trade. Robinson spoke with Peterson’s father Nelson.
While the Dallas Cowboys have been reported to be a Peterson favorite destination, the running back prefers five teams: the Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Cowboys, the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That said, even if Peterson requested a trade, the Vikings could refuse and simply pay him the $12.75 million in base salary he’s due in the 2015 season.
Of course, when it comes to Peterson it’s not just about his ability on the field or even his salary.
The six-time Pro Bowler missed all but one game last season after being suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s conduct policy after he pleaded no contest to hitting his 4-year-old son with a switch.
Last week, however, a federal judge overturned an arbitor’s ruling that allowed the NFL to continue his suspension, so as of now he’s on the commissioner’s exempt list while things get sorted out.
Peterson will be 30 when the 2015 regular season begins, but has shown no signs of slowing down despite all the mileage he has accumulated since being selected seventh overall by the Vikings in the 2007 NFL Draft.
In 2013, he rushed for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 279 carries, and the season before — in his return from a torn ACL — he ran for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns on 348 carries.
As for where he’d fit with the Cardinals, the team has made little secret of its desire to improve its situation at running back. Andre Ellington went into last season as the starter, but injuries hampered his season as he ran for just 660 yards and three touchdowns on 201 carries while also catching 467 passes for 395 yards and two scores.
The team’s second-leading rusher after Ellington was Kerwynn Williams, a late-season pickup who ran for 246 yards on 53 carries.