Adrian Peterson reiterated Thursday that he hopes to finish his career with the Vikings. He also named three other NFL teams he would have interest in playing for in 2017 if the Vikings aren’t willing to pay him.
In a television appearance on ESPN, the veteran running back insisted that his preference is to remain with the Vikings. But he admitted he has been thinking about where he would like to sign if he hits free agency.
“There’s a couple of teams out there that I’ve thought about,” he said.
The Vikings are not expected to pay Peterson the $18 million he is slated to make in the final year of the restructured contract he signed in 2015, therefore they would not be picking up the $6 million roster bonus he is due in March. But they are open to bringing him back at a reasonable salary.
Peterson was asked what he would look for in his next team if the Vikings declined to pick up his option and middle ground could not be found on a new deal.
Starting his reply, Peterson said, “I’ve earned my way up to that [$18 million], by the way.”
He continued: “But if it doesn’t happen, [I would want] a place where me and my family are comfortable, [and] just the opportunity to compete for a championship. That’s my main goal that I want to accomplish.”
Peterson said he would hope to sign with a contender that had a good defense, a “good offensive scheme” and “a great coaching staff.”
Pressed to name the teams he has been considering, Peterson mentioned the Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. He then said: “I’ll stop right there. … I’m just throwing random names out there.”
Houston, his offseason home, is about a two-hour drive from his hometown of Palestine, Texas. But the Texans have an established starting running back in Lamar Miller, who rushed for 1,073 yards and five touchdowns in 2016 after signing a four-year contract worth $26 million last year.
The Giants, like the Vikings, struggled to run the ball this season. Their leading rusher, veteran Rashad Jennings, totaled only 593 yards. Rookie Paul Perkins, a fifth-round draft pick, rushed for 456.
The Buccaneers could move on from Doug Martin, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, after he was suspended in December for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Martin averaged only 2.9 yards per carry for Tampa Bay in 2016.
Peterson, meanwhile, rushed for a career-low 72 yards on 37 carries this past season after missing 13 games because of a knee and groin injuries. But Peterson, who turns 32 in March, reiterated Thursday that he feels he has a few more productive years left, something he said a few weeks ago.
“I definitely have five more strong years, without a doubt,” he said.
And he did say he hopes to spend them in Minnesota.
“I see myself in purple. A lot has to take place,” Peterson told ESPN. “I see myself finishing off in purple. It is a business at the end of the day, so with that, things could end up differently. … Hopefully we can work things out.”
The Vikings did not respond to a request for comment on Peterson’s interview.