Adrian Peterson is back in the NFC North. After being released by Washington on Friday, the longtime Viking and future Hall-of-Fame running back is signing with the Lions, as veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to report (Twitter link).
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Peterson’s deal with Detroit will be a one-year pact worth a minimum of $1.05MM, though there are incentives to push that number a bit higher (Twitter link). Sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that the deal will max out at $2.3MM and that the incentives are based upon yardage and touchdowns.
Although the Lions’ RB room is crowded, it also has a few question marks. The club selected Kerryon Johnson in the second round of the 2018 draft, and while he has shown flashes of promise, he has missed significant time over his first two years in the league due to knee injuries. Detroit added one of the best RB prospects in this year’s draft in Georgia product D’Andre Swift, but Swift missed nearly two weeks of training camp with a knee injury.
So there is definitely a possibility that Peterson could play a significant role, at least early on in the season as Swift tries to make up for lost time. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press believes Peterson will end up poaching more of Johnson’s expected work than Swift’s, including, perhaps, goal-line touches.
With the Lions, Peterson will reunite with Darrell Bevell, Detroit’s offensive coordinator who served in the same capacity with the Vikings during Peterson’s first four years in Minnesota (when he piled up four Pro Bowl nods and two First Team All-Pro selections). As Peterson told Anderson, “[the Lions are] giving me an opportunity to play. I know Coach Bevell from my days in Minnesota. Ultimately I feel comfortable going there and helping them to get better.”
Peterson, 35, has rushed for 14,216 yards, putting him roughly 1,000 yards behind Barry Sanders for fourth on the NFL’s all-time career list. He might not be the player he once was, but he did average a solid 4.2 yards per carry over the 2018-19 campaigns with Washington. Between him, Johnson, and Swift, the Lions should be able to improve upon the 103.1 rushing yards per game they mustered in 2019, which put them near the bottom third of the league.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.