Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has now undergone surgery in three straight off seasons. He will be 29 years old by the time the 2014 NFL season kicks off. His 831-yard drop off from 2012 to 2013 is the second largest drop off in league history after rushing for 2,000 yards in a season, out of the seven guys who have accomplished the rare feat.
Knowing what we know about running backs at the professional level, and although Peterson has seemed almost superhuman at times, the Vikings absolutely must cut their losses by trading the beloved running back as they enter a new age.
Mike Zimmer was hired because of the defensive swagger he’s brought to the Cincinnati Bengals over the years, and the Vikings most certainly need to concentrate on that side of the ball. Before I go any further, let me say that the Vikings’ number one priority should be to find a quarterback in this year’s draft. Minnesota has some talented guys in place, if only they had a quarterback to take advantage of them. Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Rudolph are all solid pieces to the offense. Without a legitimate arm to get them the ball, however, they are simply mediocre.
Beyond a quarterback, though, defense is the main concern. The Vikings ranked 31st in total defense, 32nd in points allowed per game, 31st in passing yards allowed per game and 28th in turnovers forced in 2013. With Peterson’s value considerably declining by the day, the team has to ship him out of Minnesota as soon as possible in order to gain a better grasp on this and future drafts to rebuild.
As his career stands now, Peterson will go down as one of the best backs of all-time. But, he’ll also go down as one of the best backs of all-time to never win a Super Bowl, and that’s a shame. Trading him would be a win-win for both sides. As much as Vikings fans will hate the idea, it would be the wisest move Minnesota could make at this point.