Father Time has defeated Adrian Peterson.
Adrian Peterson was once one of the greatest running backs in the NFL. Sadly, he isn’t good enough to help any team at this point in his career. That’s what makes his attempt to find a new team for the 2018 season so uncomfortable to watch.
The only person who doesn’t seem to understand that Peterson’s best days are behind him is the player himself. He recently told NFL.com that he’s out to “show people I’m still the best (running back) in the league.” Peterson hasn’t even been an above average NFL running back since 2015.
That was the last year the former Oklahoma star exceeded the 1,000 yard rushing plateau. He played 16 games for the Vikings and racked up 1,485 yards on 327 carries. His yards per carry average of 4.5 illustrates just how good a rusher he was. Unfortunately, his recent numbers haven’t come anywhere near those totals.
Things have gone south for Peterson since that brilliant 2015 campaign. First, a meniscus injury limited him to just three games in 2016. Then a neck injury limited him to just 10 games for the Saints and Cardinals last year. Even when he was healthy, he wasn’t very productive for either team in 2017.
He averaged a meager 3.0 yards per carry during his four games with the Saints and only managed to average 3.5 after making the move to the Cardinals. Those aren’t positive signs for a running back who turned 33 in March. NFL teams today are hesitant to commit money to rushers who are over the age of 30. Peterson wishes he was still that young.
The proud running back claims that he’s completely healthy now. His knee issue is two years behind him and he insists three separate doctors have declared his neck issue to be taken care of. Even if you believe all that, the odds are still stacked against him ever becoming a productive running back again.
Peterson simply has too many miles on his tires. The Vikings rode him into the ground during his time in Minnesota. That heavy use has contributed heavily towards Peterson amassing over 2,500 carries in his career. Even a physical marvel like Peterson is going to see his body break down after taking that kind of pounding. It’s not like he was ever a runner to avoid contact either. He played professional football like a collision sport.
Adrian Peterson might get a chance to play for another team in 2018, but no one should expect him to be a productive running back. He’s just too far over the hill to provide a team real value.