Editor's note: This post was updated with Tuesday's news that the Vikings will not pick up the 2017 option on Adrian Peterson's contract.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The road from Green Bay to Minneapolis -- a 278-mile trek along Wisconsin 29 and Interstate 94 -- is not a one-way route. A woman named Sheila who answered the phone at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was nice enough to confirm that.
“There are two lanes eastbound and two lanes westbound,” she said.
A quick check of the flight schedule at Austin Straubel International -- yes Green Bay has an international airport -- shows direct flights both departing to and arriving from Minneapolis.
For a while, it seemed like an annual thing, the Vikings picking up someone from the Packers. Darren Sharper (2005), Ryan Longwell (2006), Robert Ferguson (2007), Greg Jennings (2013) and Desmond Bishop (2013) were among those who went directly from Green Bay to Minnesota.
Brett Favre, of course, made it there in 2009 after a one-year detour with the New York Jets.
The Vikings even claimed Brandon Bostick, one of the goats of the Packers’ 2014 NFC Championship Game loss to Seattle, but he never played in a game for them.
Which brings us to Adrian Peterson, the All-Pro who could be at the end of his run with the Vikings. The Vikings announced Tuesday that they will not pick up the 2017 option on Peterson's contract..
If Peterson's time in Minnesota is over, maybe the Packers should finally explore an ex-Vikings player. And not just to get back at the Vikings for Favre.
There are a lot of ifs before any of that could happen, but lest anyone discounts the idea as completely ridiculous, there are a couple of reasons it’s slightly less than totally nonsensical.
The Packers need a boost to their running game. Even though they like what converted receiver Ty Montgomery showed after his midseason position switch, he’s the only halfback under contract for next season. It could come in the form of Eddie Lacy, who is headed toward free agency. The Packers are open to re-signing him for the right price, which is in the $2.5 million to $3 million range plus possibly incentives. But there’s always the chance someone will offer him a much bigger contract and lure him away. Lacy recently said the Packers have been vocal about having him return.
They have plenty of cap space available, more than $40 million projected after they released Sam Shields and James Starks, so if ever they were going to make a splash in free agency, they’re well positioned to do it now.
General manager Ted Thompson has so many other needs to fill -- most of them on defense -- and he most likely will rely on the draft to do so. Boosting the running game with an established free agent makes some sense, but only at the right price.
Thompson thought pass-rusher Julius Peppers was worth a three-year, $26 million contract when the Bears cut him in 2014. Who knows what the market would be for Peterson, who turns 32 next month, especially after a season in which he played in only three games.
Like Peppers, Peterson no doubt would want to go to a Super Bowl contender. As much as Packers fans were irked by or made fun of Minnesota’s penchant for picking up ex-Packers, think of how Vikings fans would feel about seeing Peterson reach a Super Bowl in a green-and-gold uniform.
And speaking of the Super Bowl, next year it’s at Minnesota’s new U.S. Bank Stadium.