Here we are in April 2017 and the headline of the week is Adrian Peterson signs with the Saints. One of the most dominant running backs of all-time, are we now seeing the slow decline of a future hall of famer? Five seasons removed from an amazing 2,097 yard rushing season, we have seen a rocky road ever since. He has battled injuries, an offseason scandal, and now faces the fight against Father Time.
Let’s all be honest, the roller coaster began with his devastating knee injury in December of 2011, wrecking both his ACL and MCL against the Washington Redskins. What seemed, from the fan perspective, to have crushed the superstar; only lit a fire within the dominant freak athlete. We all remember that historic season, not only did he return to the field, we saw him become one of only seven running backs to crack the 2,000 yard mark in a single season.
Back on top, what could go wrong?
Queue 2014, the year that tarnished his image for many. We are all well aware of what I am referring to, and if you don’t… well… I do not know where you were because it was all over the news. I don’t want to spend much time on this, as the point of this is not to get into the scandal of Adrian Peterson’s child abuse case, but rather to convey the ups and downs of this superstar in recent years.
Of course in “AP” fashion he responds with yet another productive 2015 season, only to once again get derailed by another significant injury in the 2016 season. Now here we are, in 2017. A free agent for the first time in his career, and at the age of 32 no less. A man slammed by media and public image on the extensive punishment of his son off the field, and yet now a “Saint” on the field.
The stats show that the potential for yet another bounce back season is upon us. After all, he has scored no less than double digit touchdowns in every season of his career; except for the suspension in 2014, and the busted knee in 2016.
The situation is a bit different though. A two-year deal with $3.5 mil guaranteed for a 32 year-old running back coming off a knee injury, and competing with Mark Ingram (who is coming off the best season of his career). A superstar for the last decade finds himself in what certainly could be the final contract of his career. The touchdowns may still be there, but it could be very difficult to get the same production from Mr. “All Day.”