The New York Giants will take a look at soon-to-be free agent Adrian Peterson.
Peterson, who will be 32 on Mar. 21, was informed by the Minnesota Vikings Monday that they wouldn’t pick up his option for 2017. This will make Peterson a free agent when the new league year begins next Thursday.
Peterson named the Giants as a team he would play for in a January interview on ESPN’s “First Take”.
“We’ll go take a look at him,” head coach Ben McAdoo said in an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We’ll evaluate him, get a grade on anyone that is available and we’ll make those decisions in terms of what is best for the Giants moving forward.”
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Peterson was drafted seventh overall by the Vikings in 2007. His 11,747 yards is second among active players behind Frank Gore’s 13,065 and 97 rushing touchdowns is 10th all-time.
Off-field issues and injuries have slowed the player known as All-Day.
He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list in 2014 after he was charged with child abuse. After accepting a plea deal, he was suspended for the remainder of the 2014 season. In total, he missed 15 games of the 2014 season.
Peterson rushed for just 31 yards on 19 attempts in last season’s opener. The following week, he injured his right knee in the first game at the Vikings’ new home of U.S. Bank Stadium. Tests revealed a torn meniscus and he had surgery. It was also revealed that his knee also had a mild LCL sprain that didn’t require surgery. He was placed on injured reserve after Week 2 and activated Week 15. He had 22 yards on six attempts and a lost fumble in a 34-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Peterson was active for the Vikings’ final two regular season games but didn’t play.
The Giants are in desperate need of a quality running back. Rashad Jennings was released after not living up the free agent contract he signed in 2014. Currently, the only running backs on the Giants’ roster are Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins.
Vereen tore his triceps muscle, missing 11 games in a season marred by injury. Perkins, a fifth-round draft pick in 2016, showed flashes brilliance as he averaged 4.1 yards a carry and produced the only 100-yard rushing day by a Giants running back all season.
“If it fits, if it’s clean,” McAdoo said. “Paul is a guy that we have confidence in. He missed all offseason last year because of the rules that are in place with rookies. He came into training camp and really had to catch up in a hurry. He had some success with special teams early, and he ended up being a nice ball carrier for us. He grew in pass protection as well.”
Aside from the emergence of Perkins, it seems unlikely the Giants will sign Peterson.
Almost 95 percent of Peterson’s career carries have come with the quarterback under center. The Giants ran 72 percent of their offensive out of the shotgun in 2016.
Peterson’s asking price may be too much for the Giants, even for a player of his caliber. The Vikings declined to pick up his $18 million tender and the Giants are not the only playoff team interested in his services. This April’s draft projects to be one of the deepest for running backs in years.
There is also the potential public relations headache that may come with signing Peterson. It is something they may not want to the deal with in light of the PR nightmare that accompanied ex-kicker Josh Brown after his domestic violence arrest came to light and subsequent release from the team. There is also the chance that the Vikings and Peterson reach a deal to keep him in Minnesota.
The Giants averaged 88.3 rushing yards per game, 29th in the league. Regardless if the help comes from the draft or free agency, the ground attack needs to be addressed.