The Minnesota Vikings Should Trade Adrian Peterson

The Minnesota Vikings Should Trade Adrian Peterson

If you watched Thursday night's Vikings-Redskins game, you're... a fool. While RGIII's alma mater, Baylor, was able to run away from Adrian Peterson's college home, Oklahoma, the roles were reversed on the NFL turf. And everyone should have been watching a dominant performance by Stanford in their upset of Oregon... for the second straight year.

While the college game was better to watch last night, Peterson should be at the heart of another discussion.

The Minnesota Vikings are terrible. They have AP and... Jared Allen? They don't use Cordarelle Patterson for more than kick returns, they overpaid Greg Jennings, and their defense is aging in all the wrong places.

The light at the end of the tunnel is far, far away.

Which is why it's time for the Vikings to deal their franchise player.

Let's set the context for this idea with a little (painful) history. After four weeks in the 1989 season, Minnesota was involved in one of the biggest blockbuster trades in NFL history. They sent a king's ransom to Dallas for Herschel Walker, a bounty of picks that effectively led to the Cowboys being jump-started as a franchise.

In that deal, the Vikings traded away three 1st round picks, three 2nd round picks, one 3rd and one 6th with five players to Dallas for Walker, two 3rd round picks, a 5th and a 10th. There aren't ten rounds in the NFL Draft any more.

The players added through that trade included Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, and Darren Woodson, cornerstones of the beginning of Dallas' dynasty.

Those Cowboys already had a young receiver - Michael Irvin - and a franchise quarterback - Troy Aikman - on the roster. They were both 23, but the Cowboys knew they needed a larger, quicker overhaul to make it happen.

Some might say "there's no way you trade the best running back in the game" and "Walker doesn't compare," but both of those arguments lose weight when we, again, use history to add perspective.

Herschel WalkerIn 1987, Walker led the NFL with 1,606 yards from scrimmage; that season was strike-shortened. Dallas was 3-13 in 1988, but Walker had another fantastic season. He ran for 1,514 yards and had another 505 receiving with seven touchdowns. In his first three seasons in the NFL, Walker had 5,199 total yards from scrimmage, and that's with the 1987 season being cut short to 12 games.

He was dominant.

Of course, Walker didn't have an NFL MVP award at home. And he hadn't run for 2,000 yards in a season, either. Peterson can claim both of those. But Walker was a pioneer of the dominant, dual-threat running back that we have seen in players like Marshall Faulk, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles.

Also, Walker was 27 years old when he was traded and was only just beginning his fourth NFL season. Peterson is 28 and is in his seventh NFL season.

If you did watch the Vikings last night, you undoubtedly saw a beast that has years left in his legs. There's a lot of good football left in AP, even with the knee injury on his resume.

Now let's fast forward to the current NFL.

The Cleveland Browns traded Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for a 1st round pick earlier this year. If Richardson, after one season, is worth one 1st round pick, could AP garner a bounty similar to what the Vikings paid to land Walker 24 years ago?

There are some teams that might feel they are in a position to go for broke and move multiple 1st round picks to bring in a game-changer like AP. Add to the annual sense of urgency for NFL teams the reality that there doesn't appear to be a dominant running back coming out of college in the next two drafts, and the options are overpay a free agent or overpay in a trade if you want to improve the position.

The ultimate irony would be Minnesota selling the idea to... Dallas. The Cowboys haven't been able to keep DeMarco Murray on the field consistently during his NFL career, and they have publically acknowledged that their window with Romo and Witten isn't going to stay open forever. With the volatile Dez Bryant and young Terrance Williams also in the mix at receiver, Dallas might be both desperate and crazy enough to consider making a blockbuster deal.

What about the Patriots? Tom Brady isn't getting any younger, and they refuse to commit to a single running back (as all fantasy owners of Stevan Ridley understand too well). A franchise that has shown little regard for where they select in the draft - indeed, they usually trade out of the first round to add picks anyway - what would keep them from mortgaging multiple picks to put another future Hall of Famer into their backfield?

Carolina has Cam Newton coming into his own and a young, dominant defense. They have tried - and failed - at the running back position in recent years. Adding Peterson into a division with a pathetic Bucs team, a struggling Falcons team and an aging Saints team could position Carolina to be a powerhouse for the next few years.

Those "aging Saints" might be in a position to add a centerpiece running back to their arsenal. Like Brady, Drew Brees isn't getting younger but they have Jimmy Graham as their only consistent target in the passing game. Staying in a dome might be a good idea for Peterson, and moving to the NFC South could boost his production to record levels.

Those are only four teams that might consider the cost of acquiring Peterson; there could be more.

With the Vikings appearing to be headed for another top ten pick in next year's draft, it might be time to mortgage their best player in an effort to add enough assets to make a legitimate difference. Trading Peterson wouldn't sit well with fans, but utilizing the picks received wisely could lead to a renaissance in Minnesota.





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  • This article is off base on so many levels:

    -Running backs are rarely drafted in the 1st round anymore. Trent Richardson was one of the only examples in the last few years, and he is shaping up to be a bust. Who would be foolish enough to trade multiple firsts for one?
    -Many teams (including the Patriots and Panthers, who you site as potential buyers) use a running back by committee approach. Why give up so much for one player when you've been successful using multiple lower cost ones?
    -This is now a passing league. With the rules as they stand, winning teams have top quarterbacks. Great running backs are more of a luxury.
    -Arian Foster of the Texans who has been one of the top RBs in recent years went undrafted out of college. There are quality running backs to be found.
    -Running backs have the shortest careers of any position. It would be foolish to mortgage the teams future for a player who might only have 2-3 good seasons left. Almost all RBs start to break down after they turn 30. Peterson is 28 with a ton of mileage and accumulated hits.

    The whole premise of this article hinges on the Vikings being able to get a ton of high round picks for Peterson. Any GM who would make a deal similar to the Hershal Walker trade, in today's NFL, shouldn't be employed.

  • OK so I disagree with your comment, but only on some of your points:

    -just because RBs aren't usually drafted in the first round doesn't matter. If AP was coming out of college, I guarantee he would go 1st overall. period. college ball has evolved, and RBs aren't as big (outside of say the Big10), so they don't show off a lot of talent there (its all passing now).

    -RB by committee usually averages less than 3yds/carry. AP is closer to 5. When AP is in the game, the defense usually puts 8 (or better) in the box. Can you imagine Tony Romo & Dez Bryant against a defense that has to sellout for the run? If they dont sell out, AP gains more than 5, and if they do, Dez has 1on1 coverage with no help. I dont think you understand WHY this is important. This is how you manipulate the pass game.

    -Superbowl teams have great QBs with significant running attacks. Last superbowl you had SF and BAL--both with top-notch RBs and NOBODY for QBs. You can't tell me Joe Flacco or Colin Kaepernick are elite, sorry (even though Baltimore was dumb enough to pay Flacco). Both teams were there because of special teams, defense, and an elite running game. Your point holds no water. Again, youll greatly improve a passing game with a serious RB threat like AP.

    -Arian Foster was much better with a team around him. I don't consider him elite. Who cares if he was undrafted? What does that have to do with AP? Are you actually saying AP and Foster are similar talent-wise? Not even close. Thats like comparing Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. Sorry, AP has raw talent, Foster needs a team. And, yes, I just slammed Emmitt Smith. Helps to have a team.

    -I agree with this statement about AP only having a few years left. That's WHY its a great idea to deal him if they can. IDK who would take him and what they would give for him, but the Vikings should trade AP like yesterday.

    I agree with your conclusion as well. I don't think any GM with a brain will do it...then again, I could see Dallas or Carolina selling out. Other than those 2 teams, its not happening.

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