Despite evidence to the contrary, Adrian Peterson thinks he can play in the NFL quite a bit longer.
After returning from a torn ACL late in the 2011 season to top 2,000 yards and win league MVP in 2012, nothing seemed out of the realm of possibility for Adrian Peterson. But three of his last four seasons have been shortened, either by an off the field issue or injuries, and his 33rd birthday is on the horizon.
A neck injury ended Peterson’s 2017 season early, and according to a report earlier this week the Arizona Cardinals are expected to waive him. Without knowing the severity of Peterson’s injury, neck injuries have ended plenty of football careers. Based on his recent comments, during a visit back to Minnesota during Super Bowl week, Peterson doesn’t seem to think his injury is on that level.
According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Peterson doesn’t see his career ending anytime soon.
And as for talk, the Cardinals will release him, Peterson is hopeful it won’t happen while also looking forward to the next opportunity if it does.
Four or five more seasons would take Peterson through his age-36 (2021) or age-37 (2022) season, which would be practically unheard of for a running back. Marcus Allen played through his age-37 season, but thanks to a falling out with the Raiders and a specialized role with the Kansas City Chiefs he topped 200 carries just three times in his final nine seasons.
Peterson has gone public with lofty, and sometimes patently unrealistic, goals for himself before. But thinking he can play four or five more seasons in the NFL borders on delusional. Apart from being on the wrong side of 30, his skill set has not evolved during his career and he has not proven to be adaptable to offenses that can no longer center on him as a workhorse back.
While his time in the NFL may soon be coming to an end for the future Hall of Famer, if he wants to play four or five more years, he could always look for work in the XFL which begins play in two years.