Washington Redskins: What more does Adrian Peterson have left?

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Running back Adrian Peterson
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Running back Adrian Peterson /

Adrian Peterson has been working out to be ready to play in 2018, and it just so happens that the Washington Redskins could use a guy with over 12,000 career rushing yards.

In an attempt to neutralize the loss of Derrius Guice, the Washington Redskins signed 33-year old running back Adrian Peterson on Monday. The team reported that Peterson agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.015 million. He gives the team depth at a relatively unstable position on the roster. Peterson will presumably split carries with Chris Thompson, Robert Kelley and Samaje Perine, depending on how the final roster shapes out.

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Peterson is five years removed from the league-MVP he captured in 2012. Since then, he has suffered multiple knee injuries with the latest being a torn meniscus that limited him to three games in 2016. It was also his final season with the Minnesota Vikings after they decided not to exercise the final year of his contract. It’s been two long years since Peterson had the same production that made him one of the most feared running backs in the NFL.

In 2017, he began the year as a New Orleans Saint, but was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round draft pick.

In only four games with the Saints, Peterson rushed the ball 27 times for 81 yards. The Cardinals, in desperate need of a replacement for an injured David Johnson, knew they could get Peterson at a cheap price given his inability to gain traction in New Orleans’ rotation.

Through six games in Arizona, he rushed for 448 yards and two touchdowns. However, he ended the season on injured reserve with an apparent neck injury. The team chose not to re-sign him with the expectation Johnson would be ready for the start of the 2018 regular season.

With all that taken into consideration what exactly are the Redskins getting in Peterson? He’s ancient in running back years as most see a severe decline in play once they hit 30. Now 33, can Peterson still be relied upon as a No. 1 running back? Probably not. However, his contract suggests he accepts that reality.

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This late into training camp, Washington does not expect him to tote the rock 20 times per game. With injuries to Perine and Byron Marshall, what they really need is a reliable veteran to turn to in crunch time. Peterson will likely be a short-yardage back who can punch in drives on the goal line and convert short third downs. Anywhere from three to four yards per carry is a reasonable expectation.

The Redskins have three reliable running backs who all bring something different to the offense and only time will tell what Peterson adds to the mix.