Read this before ordering your new No. 26 Adrian Peterson jersey in burgundy and gold.
The future Hall of Fame running back is not guaranteed to have much of a future in his new home, as confirmed by his new head coach on Tuesday.
Asked whether Peterson’s chance of winning a spot on the 53-man roster depends on his performance or the recovery of other running backs from injury, Jay Gruden said this: “A little bit of both probably. We’ll weigh everything out and his performance will also have a lot to do with it. What he does, not only Friday, but during the weeks of practice leading up to the games.”
Peterson’s competition isn’t the bottom of the depth chart (where the guys who make the team also will be expected to play special teams) but the top. Specifically, he’ll competing with the running backs who primarily will handle first and second down.
“We have a third-down back, and I wouldn’t ask Adrian [Peterson] to be on third down with all the things he’d have to learn right now,” Gruden said. “Chris [Thompson], Byron [Marshall] and Kapri [Bibbs] have that stranglehold. Really, we are looking for first and second down guys. Obviously third down, short to medium [Peterson would] be in there, but that’s what we are looking for.”
That means Peterson will be vying with guys like Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. And with Peterson’s veteran minimum salary of $1.015 million not guaranteed (unless and until he’s on the Week One roster when it becomes as a practical matter fully guaranteed), Washington may indeed decide to make Peterson’s stay a short one.
Even if it doesn’t work out for Peterson, he has an opportunity to show the rest of the league that he can still perform at a high level, putting him possibly near the top of the list of guys who will get a phone call when injuries inevitably happen as the regular season unfolds.