Adrian Peterson will be of no further use to the Arizona Cardinals, so is his NFL career over?
Once upon a time, not all that long ago in non-football years, Adrian Peterson was arguably the best running back in the NFL. But three of his last four seasons have been shortened by off the field issues or injuries, and now he’s approaching 33 years old. According to Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM in Phoenix, not surprisingly, the Arizona Cardinals are expected to waive Peterson this offseason.
After spending his first 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints last offseason. It was a poor fit from the start as he only had 27 carries in four games, and the Saints traded him to the Cardinals in October.
Peterson offered glimpses of his old form early in his time with the Cardinals, with over 130 rushing yards in two of his first three games with the team. But that production fell off over the next three games, and a neck injury eventually sidelined Peterson for the season.
Peterson is 12th on the all-time rushing list with 12,276 yards. He only needs 37 yards to reach the top 10 all-time, surpassing Marshall Faulk (12,279 yards) and Jim Brown (12,312 yards). That kind of standing among all-time greats would be important to any player. But it surely takes on greater importance for Peterson, who once had his eyes on surpassing Emmitt Smith as the league’s all-time leading rusher.
With David Johnson expected to be back from a wrist injury in time for training camp, the Cardinals don’t need to keep Peterson around as a replacement or a backup with no versatility. They can also clear his $2.88 million salary cap hit without carrying any dead money.
Peterson’s market was slow to materialize last offseason, with he and his own camp driving much of the speculation. Now he’s added another poor campaign and a season-ending neck injury to his resume, not to mention another birthday that will come early in the offseason on Mar. 21.
A team may want to give him an opportunity to become a top-10 all-time rusher in their uniform for the pure novelty of it (Cleveland Browns, you listening?). But it’s more likely Peterson has taken his last NFL carry, even if he won’t admit it anytime soon.