Adrian Peterson To Patriots? Running Back’s Release Sparks Debate

Will New England consider signing the 2012 NFL MVP?

by Ricky Doyle

September 4, 2020

Adrian Peterson wants to continue playing in the NFL.

“Oh, yeah, without a doubt,” the 35-year-old running back told ESPN after being released Friday by the Washington Football Team. “I definitely want to play.”

So, the question becomes: Which team will — or should — pick up the phone and inquire about his services?

The New England Patriots always seem to be mentioned whenever a high-profile player hits the open market, so it didn’t take long for folks on Twitter to start questioning whether Bill Belichick might consider signing Peterson, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and one of the best running backs in NFL history.

The social media provocateurs weren’t alone, either. Even former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich wondered Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up” whether New England will explore the idea.

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“I know he’s older now, but look, I wouldn’t put it past a team like the Patriots — who need an early-down back — to go after a guy like him,” Ninkovich said. “He still has a little bit of juice in the tank, so if he still wants to play football, he’s gonna have an opportunity to play in the NFL. So don’t put it past New England. They need an early-down — a first- and second-down — back.”

The Patriots already have a relatively crowded running back depth chart comprised of Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead, Lamar Miller and J.J. Taylor. But Michel and Miller are coming off foot surgery and a torn ACL, respectively, while Harris’ status for New England’s season opener reportedly is in jeopardy due to a hand injury.

The Patriots reportedly showed interest in Leonard Fournette this week before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed the 25-year-old running back in wake of his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Obviously, Fournette and Peterson are in much different stages of their respective careers. Plus, it’s possible New England simply was doing its due diligence on Fournette, now entering his fourth NFL season after being drafted fourth overall in 2017.

Both are powerful runners, though. Maybe the Patriots will do their homework on Peterson, too, if nothing else.

Thumbnail photo via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports Images

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