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Buccaneers-linked Adrian Peterson hits free agency

Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson will hit free agency for the first time in his career. The Minnesota Vikings announced they won’t pick up the option in his contract, which means he’ll be free to sign with any NFL team on Thursday, March 9 — unless they reach an agreement with Peterson before then, but it seems like that’s not in the works.

Peterson has been repeatedly linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past few years, mostly because he keeps mentioning them as a possible destination. The Bucs are, of course, in need of a running back, with Doug Martin in rehab last we heard from him, and serving a three-game suspension to start the season.

Then again, it’s hard to tell how much Peterson has left in the tank. He’s missed 18 games in the past three seasons with various injuries, and managed a measly 1.9 yards per carry in the three games he was healthy last year. On the other hand, he led the league in rushing yards in 2015.

Peterson will be 32 this year, which is generally way over the age limit for running backs, at least as lead backs. The Bucs also have some seemingly more reliable and cheaper options: re-signing Jacquizz Rodgers, for instance, or drafting one in what looks like a very good running back class.

I would ultimately be surprised if the Bucs go after Peterson, but it’s not entirely impossible. We’ll see what happens the next couple of weeks.