MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday, is spending the offseason working out at his gym in Houston while waiting to discover the identity of his employer for the first time in 10 years. The Minnesota Vikings already told their all-time leading rusher they won't be bringing him back after signing Latavius Murray. As Peterson looks for a new team, there could be a shortage of immediate dance partners.
The Oakland Raiders have an opening after Murray's departure and seemed like a logical fit for Peterson thanks to the strength of their offensive line and their willingness to put the quarterback under center. But they've been reported in recent days to be seeking a trade for Marshawn Lynch, should he come out of retirement.
The New York Giants -- another team Peterson had mentioned -- signed former 49ers running back Shaun Draughn to join their group of backs on Tuesday. The Green Bay Packers have some interest in a visit with Peterson, but it's believed that might not happen until after the team can take stock of its roster following the draft.
There hasn't been an obvious fit for Peterson, now two weeks removed from the start of the free-agent negotiating period and three weeks removed from the day the Vikings announced they wouldn't pick up his $18 million option for 2017. And as Vikings coach Mike Zimmer talked on the team's radio flagship on Tuesday about the addition of Murray, he highlighted some ways the 27-year-old's game might fit better with the Vikings' offense at this point than Peterson's would.
"Obviously, he's a big back -- almost 6-3, 225 -- he's got strength in his running game, power in his running game. He catches the ball well out of the backfield, and is a good pass protector and receiver," Zimmer said of Murray. "I just think his big-play ability, being able to catch the ball, not having to substitute him on third downs, a lot of those are big for him."
Although Peterson would undoubtedly like to know where he'll spend the 2017 season, there's an argument to be made for him waiting things out. A deep running back class could mean more teams head into OTAs with their running back situation settled, but an untimely injury could create an opening for a veteran like Peterson. As the three-time rushing champion switches teams for the first time in his career, it behooves him to find the right fit as much as it does to find the best price.
As Peterson marks his 32nd birthday during the middle of his second week on the open market, it appears possible he could be biding his time for a while yet. It's likely not the reception he expected in free agency, but the right fit for the running back could present itself in time.