After being cut by Washington just before last season, Adrian Peterson landed with the Detroit Lions. He’ll now hit free agency, sitting fifth on the all-time rushing list with 14,820 career yards. With 450 yards next season, he’ll pass Barry Sanders for fourth.
Approaching his 36th birthday (Mar. 21), Peterson is eyeing two things. One is a Super Bowl ring, hence why he has said he’s interested in signing with the Buccaneers. Second, he’s still got his eye on passing Emmitt Smith as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Peterson trails Smith by 3,535 yards.
“I’m going to keep playing, trying to chase the championship and, God’s willing, within the process of doing that, I’m able to catch Emmitt and pass him,” Peterson said.
After running for over 600 yards for the Lions last season, Peterson should find a team for the 2021 season. Anything after that is hardly guaranteed though, and he’ll be a backup wherever he lands.
On his list of projected landing spots for free agents, Zachary Hanshew of Fantasy Pros tabbed Peterson to the Indianapolis Colts. As the Colts look to add pieces around Carson Wentz, there’s a case for them to add a veteran back like Peterson.
Is Adrian Peterson really a fit for the Colts?
The Colts drafted Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft. All he did was run for 1,169 yards (third in the league) and 11 touchdowns, while adding 36 catches in 15 games. But he only played 47 percent of the offensive snaps (according to Pro Football Reference). In his first nine games, he topped 17 carries once.
Nyheim Hines is the Colts’ pass-catching back, and a pretty good one (more than 60 catches in two of three seasons). There’s a case for some of his snaps to shift toward Taylor, but he’ll still be a nice weapon for Wentz.
Peterson will be in line for 5-10 carries a game behind whoever the lead back is, wherever he lands. The Colts surely don’t want to run Taylor into the ground. However, getting him to 250 carries feels like the baseline for 2021. Will Peterson be happy with a bit role? History says no, though that has softened in recent years.
The Colts are lined up to get over the hump in the AFC next season, which will make them an appealing spot for Peterson. But any idea they’ll seriously look at signing him feels like a reach. It takes two to tango, and the Colts may not be a willing dance partner.