Many might have thought that Adrian Peterson had already officially retired from the NFL. After all, the 38-year-old running back didn’t tote the rock professionally in 2022. In fact, Peterson wasn’t even on a team.
But the seven-time Pro Bowl selection said he wasn’t quite done in a recent interview with Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“Mentally, I haven’t officially hung it up. We’ll see what happens,” Peterson said. “My mindset is, if God’s willing, maybe an opportunity presents itself, and maybe it happens this season. I’ll go from there. But [if] nothing happens this season, for sure, I will be hanging it up.”
Former Star RB Adrian Peterson Not Ready To Retire
Peterson is aware the choice isn’t solely up to him. He’ll need an interested team to come calling. That’s unlikely to happen in May.
There’s a handful of younger, more recently productive backs on the open market. Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt are among the former 1,000-yard rushers awaiting their next NFL home. All three are under 30 and will all likely sign contracts before Peterson does.
Even the next tier features the always-sturdy Mark Ingram and some proven explosive rotational backs in J.D. McKissic and Kenyan Drake.
No, Peterson likely won’t garner much interest right now. After all, he split his last pro season (2021) between two teams, played in just four games, and racked up a paltry 98 yards on 36 carries (2.7 yards per carry).
But injuries do befall backfields yearly in the NFL. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that Peterson gets a phone call or two midseason when teams find themselves in a pinch.
He’d hardly be the first player to return from a (presumed) retirement. Marshawn Lynch famously unretired in 2019 when the injury-stricken Seattle Seahawks came calling heading into the playoffs.
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Lynch was 33 and over a year out of the game by then. In ways, it showed. In three games, Lynch had 30 carries and gained a meager 67 yards. He did, however, mitigate that somewhat by contributing four rushing touchdowns.
Lynch was long known for being a battering ram near the red zone, and that old strength proved intact.
Similarly, Peterson’s always had a nose for the end zone. In fact, the 2012 NFL MVP has racked up 120 rushing scores in his career. He scored double-digit touchdowns in eight of his first nine seasons, the lone outlier being a year lost to injury.
It also bears mentioning that Peterson is not all that far removed from productivity. He hasn’t been dominant in his post-Vikings career. There have been seasons marred by injury or split between two teams. But he did have a run of success between 2018-2020.
During two seasons as the starter in Washington, Peterson piled up 462 carries, 1,940 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He then had a solid campaign in a rotational role with Detroit in 2020, notching 156 carries, 604 yards, and seven touchdowns.
Last we saw Peterson, he was admittedly unimpressive. But the man nicknamed “All Day” for his remarkable endurance thinks he still has a little juice left in his legs. He’s just waiting for the opportunity to prove it.