If he becomes available, the New England Patriots should make running back Adrian Peterson a priority.
The New England Patriots do not have many needs this off season. Sure, they have their own free agents to deal with, but for the most part, they could roll back the same team and be just fine. That being said, there is always room for improvement—even for the Super Bowl champions.
An area for improvement that I see on this team is at running back. The quick and elusive duo of James White and Dion Lewis are great as receiving backs, but I would love to see the Patriots improve their power back situation.
LeGarrette Blount had a nice season in 2016. He led the league with 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, but he only had a 3.9 yards per carry average. Blount typically does a nice job of picking up the necessary short yardage, but he is not much of a threat in the backfield. He has been a nice player for the Patriots over the years, but I think it would be relatively simple for them to find a better power back to replace him.
Ideally, they could find that guy in the draft. However, if Adrian Peterson becomes available, the Patriots would be nuts to not be involved.
The Minnesota Vikings have an $18 million option on Peterson this offseason. If they accept that option, Peterson would make more than twice as much as any other running back in the NFL. Coming off of a tough 2016 season, the Vikings are extremely unlikely to pick up that option. The two sides will undoubtedly look to come to a restructured agreement this offseason.
The Vikings will try to get Peterson to take a pay cut. He may just do so in order to finish his career with the only team he has ever played for. If he is already taking a pay cut, Peterson may as well go for a Super Bowl ring. Where better to go for a ring than New England?
Peterson is not quite the player who he once was. He has struggled with injuries in recent years. That being said, Peterson led the league in rushing yards (1,485) and rushing touchdowns (11) just one season ago in 2015. At nearly 32 years old, he is not the same guy who he used to be, but in the right situation, he could still be great.
Injuries are obviously a concern here. However, the Patriots would be able to give him a lighter workload. Peterson is used to being the clear focal point of the Vikings offense. In New England, that would not be the case.
He would be splitting time with White and Lewis, primarily handling only rushing duties. Peterson would be an elite short yardage back for the Patriots. He would also see a lot of early down work. However, Tom Brady is always going to be the focal point of the Patriots offense. Peterson would simply be an elite complementary piece.
Brady and the New England Patriots are going to put up points no matter what. However, it would not hurt to add one of the most talented running backs to ever play the game. Peterson would add some much-needed balance to the mix in New England. Him and Brady would take pressure off of each other. If he becomes available, the New England Patriots must pursue Adrian Peterson.