The Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled with their running game this past season, in large part because Doug Martin regressed after getting a big, new contract. Martin is now suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season, and in a rehab facility.
That leaves the Bucs with a hole at running back. They could patch it up by bringing back Jacquizz Rodgers, who should be good in the short-term. They might have another option: Adrian Peterson.
The veteran running back and likely future Hall of Famer is under contract with the Minnesota Vikings and would like to stay there, but with an $18 million salary, he’ll need to reach some new contract agreement with his current team. And given that he rushed for a grand total of 72 yards this past season, that may not be in the works.
Peterson will be 32 in March, has missed 28 games over the past three seasons, and is on a really expensive contract. That does not bode well for his future with the Vikings, and if he hits free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of four teams on his shortlist. That’s what the running back said on ESPN’s First Take, per NFL.com.
He also named the Houston Texans and New York Giants as teams he’s thought of joining. So the Bucs certainly aren’t the only team on his mind.
Overall, though, this is fairly unlikely. It’s possible, but it needs a lot of things to go right: the Vikings need to fail to reach a new contract agreement with Peterson, the Bucs then need to be interested in Peterson (which is not a given), they need to be willing to meet his demands, and they need to beat the other teams to sign him.
That’s a whole lot of steps that need to go right. So I wouldn’t expect this to actually happen. And, realistically, the Bucs simply shouldn’t want to sign him: very, very few running backs are still productive at his age, and most of those who are do not have a recent history of repeated catastrophic injuries. Signing Peterson may sound good — as big names often do — but it’s more likely to be a disappointment than anything else.