Well, this sure sounds enticing for Giants fans.
With the team coming off a promising 11-5 season, albeit ended by a 38-13 beatdown in Green Bay, and with the running game in need of a major jolt, Adrian Peterson says he’s interested in playing for Big Blue if he can’t work out a deal to remain with the Vikings.
Peterson has had one of the most spectacular careers of any runner in NFL history, including a 2,000-yard rushing season. He said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday that he has thought about life after the Vikings. Among the teams he listed as potential destinations: the Bucs, the Texans and . . . the Giants.
“If it doesn’t happen, a place where me and my family are comfortable,” Peterson said. “My main goal that I want to accomplish is go somewhere where I can win a championship. With that, having a good defense, a team that has a good offensive scheme as well. A great coaching staff, that really helps.”
If the Vikings release Peterson because of his $18-million salary-cap figure in 2017, at face value, it’s certainly an enticing possibility. With the running game one of the Giants’ biggest weaknesses — only 88.2 yards a game, ranked 29th in the NFL — a big-time back certainly would help.
But dig deeper, and you’ll see Peterson isn’t the right fit with the Giants. Start with his age and his health.
He turns 32 in March, a time when most running backs have retired or are close to being done. The line of demarcation for their NFL usefulness is 30, so Peterson is living on borrowed time.
Plus, he is coming off his second knee surgery in five seasons. In 2011, he needed reconstructive surgery, and a torn meniscus kept him out of 13 games in 2016.
He made a remarkable comeback in 2012, rushing for a career-high 2,097 yards and establishing the bar for recovery from ACL surgery. But after rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015, Peterson regressed. In two games before the knee injury, he ran 31 times for 50 yards. He made it back in late December, played one game and had six carries for 22 yards before being shut down.
Father Time is undefeated against every athlete, even the great ones, and Peterson is losing — even if he insists he still has a lot of football left in him.
“I would say five more years, and that’s a number that I’m comfortable with in my heart playing,” Peterson said about how much longer he wants to play. “It has a lot to do with just being around my kids more is the reason I say five, but I definitely have five more strong years.”
In a league that routinely gets younger and cheaper, if he thinks he can play that much longer, he’s dreaming.
The Giants certainly can use an upgrade over Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins, but Peterson would not be the answer. Besides age and knee problems, he’s not the right fit in Ben McAdoo’s offense. McAdoo has done away with a fullback in his scheme, and Peterson is much more productive with a fullback as his lead blocker. So unless McAdoo changed course on a very fundamental aspect of his offense, which is unlikely, Peterson would be miscast.
And there’s something else that has nothing to do with football that makes a Peterson signing problematic: his history with domestic violence.
Peterson missed nearly the entire 2014 season after being indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to punish his 4-year-old son. He pleaded no contest to a lesser charge. The NFL placed Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list after the indictment, and he did not play again that season.
Peterson was reinstated after undergoing league-mandated counseling, and although he has not been in trouble since, the Giants would have to think long and hard about signing a player who engaged in such reprehensible behavior. They were excoriated for their handling of kicker Josh Brown, who signed a two-year extension last spring even though the team knew he faced a suspension stemming from a 2015 arrest for hitting his wife.
Giants president and co-owner John Mara stood by Brown but eventually decided to release him after court documents revealed that Brown had admitted to years of spousal abuse. Does Mara want to answer more questions about signing a player with a sordid past? His reputation took a big enough hit with the Brown fiasco.
Add it all up, and Peterson lining up in the Giants’ backfield in 2017 simply doesn’t make sense.