Two sources told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that, at this point, the Bucs are not expected to aggressively pursue the former league MVP. Things could change, but right now, the Bucs have loose plans for two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, who's still under contract for the next four years.
Martin left the team with one game remaining in the 2016 season to enter a drug treatment program and to begin serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He had also missed six games in 2016 due to a hamstring injury.
Martin completed his rehab and met with the team in Tampa last week. Sources told Fowler that they believe he looks refreshed and healthy, but they want to see consistency from him over the next six to eight months. He is expected to take part in OTAs.
Appearing on ESPN's First Take recently, Peterson mentioned the Bucs as one of the teams he was interested in joining, along with the New York Giants and the Houston Texans, citing the need for a team with a strong defense.
It wasn't the first time Peterson or his representatives indicated interest in Tampa. In 2015, his agent, Ben Dogra, tweeted a photo of himself wearing a Bucs hat. He had a big smile on his face and was sitting in front of Peterson's jersey, holding a football, and that was shortly after he told ESPN that it "wasn't in Adrian's best interest to remain in Minnesota."
Despite those comments from two years ago, the Vikings and Peterson have not ruled out a return to Minnesota even after the team declined to pick up the 2017 option on his contract. In fact, Peterson told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Tuesday that the "door is still open to "find some common ground" with the Vikings.
The Bucs do have $68 million in salary-cap room, the fourth-most in the NFL, so they could afford Peterson. He turns 32 this month, however, and the injuries have begun to pile up.
The Bucs are intent on solidifying their running back situation this offseason and plan to meet with Jacquizz Rodgers' agent at the NFL scouting combine this week, along with getting a good look at what's considered a strong group of prospects. Rodgers is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 9. The Bucs also indicated that they're happy with the way undrafted free agent Peyton Barber performed last season.