Adrian Peterson may become a thing of the past

2016 may be the last year for Adrian Peterson as a Viking.

Courtesy of USA Today

2016 may be the last year for Adrian Peterson as a Viking.

Ben Goldsmith , Eastside Multimedia Director

Adrian Peterson had his peak season in 2012 when he entered the 2,000-yard club. That year Peterson topped Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, reining second all time single-season rushing yards beneath former St. Louis Rams legendary running back Eric Dickerson. After Adrian Peterson had his peak season he was due for an oil change. And after his season was cut short in 2014, he went full throttle the following year. Though the Minnesota Vikings running back is third overall on the fantasy football chart, Peterson may not have another wonder season.

AGE— At an age of 31, Peterson is becoming a grandfather of the game. Having only 21 carries in 2014 due to his child abuse case, Peterson made a huge comeback for his age. Going from a 75-yard season to a 1,400-yard season doesn’t happen too often considering the time off he endured during his suspension. He’s taken many hits throughout his nine years in the league, and few are lucky to have lasted as long as Peterson. He’s suffered three ankle injuries, two to the groin and two knee injuries. According to SportsGrid, on average running backs last 3.11 years before retirement or a career-shattering injury. For Peterson, his age and years played should ring bells that he might not be around as long as fans hope.

PEAK— AP might not be able to surpass his 2015 season stats. The back can still haul multiple defenders on his shoulders as he powers to the end zone, but his statistics have been jagged. Leading up to his record season, he had an unimpressive 970-yard season. Peterson’s statistics are like a stock market, one year he performs awfully and the next he is the number one pick for fantasy. With a peak in 2012, and his age, be ready to see another drop off soon.

COMPETITION— Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata are just a few of the secondary running backs Minnesota has enlisted on their 2016 depth chart. These backs are not only younger than Peterson, but are taking steps to increase their role in the upcoming season. McKinnon packed on an extra 11 pounds this summer to be a stronger force. McKinnon even got to prove himself against the Giants last season where he ran for two touchdowns. Last season he had 52 carries accounting for 271 total yards. Using McKinnon as a weapon instead of a bench warmer could give Peterson less carries than he may want. Asiata won’t have much of a chance as McKinnon to take from Peterson’s field time as he remains stuck third on the Vikings depth chart.

CONTRACT— Even if Peterson puts up 2015 numbers again in the upcoming season, it might not be convincing enough to hold the attention of the Minnesota Viking organization. The Pioneer Press said 2016 would likely be the last of Adrian Peterson as a Viking. If they decide to keep him, the Vikings have to pay Peterson $18 million for one year. Additionally, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s tab is at $6.8 million for four years. That is among other expenses, as well. Is it worth it for Peterson to start again with a new team? Regardless of how many teams would sign him in a heartbeat, can Peterson handle learning a new playbook and working with a new coach? The NFL could lose a great soon, but hopefully he goes out on a high note.