Redskins Sign Adrian Peterson – Can He Save Them from Last Place Finish?

adrian-peterson-redskins-1The Washington Redskins aren’t projected to have much success this year. They currently have +775 odds of winning the NFC East right now according to our GTBets sportsbook (Eagles lead with -150). But the Redskins may get a boost after signing Adrian Peterson.

The living legend is coming off a strange season, where he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals after not getting many carries on the Saints. Peterson played well in spurts for Arizona before suffering a season-ending neck injury in December.

However, he’s now healthy and looking to regain his All-Pro form. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Peterson was signed after impressing Washington in a workout.

Peterson is happy to have found a team and extend his future Hall of Fame career by another season.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s been a long offseason but I’ve been keeping my body in shape and [I’m] ready for this opportunity. So when this opportunity presented itself, I was just excited.”

Washington can Really Use Peterson

The Redskins didn’t have a lot of talent on offense to begin with. Things have only gotten worse after the team lost running backs Derrius Guice, Byron Marshall, and Samaje Perine to preseason injuries. For good measure, third-down specialist Chris Thompson is still rehabbing a broken fibula.

Coach Jay Gruden was initially against bringing in a free agent running back. However, he softened his stance after seeing all of the injuries at the position.

Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa also tried out for the open roster spot. But it was Peterson who impressed Gruden’s staff the most.

Rob Kelly is the Current Starter

The good news for Washington is that they at least have their early down back healthy. Rob Kelley, who lost weight in the offseason, is slated to start at tailback.

“We’ve had very [unlucky] situations with our running backs,” Gruden said. “If something else happens, we are going be really, really, really thin. We want to make sure we’re covering all our bases right now.”

Kelley had a strong season in 2016, when he rushed for 704 yards on 168 carries (4.2 avg) and six touchdowns. However, he split time with Thompson and Perine last year and only rushed for 194 yards before being put on injured reserve in mid-November.

Peterson Finds Team after Offseason Release

adrian-peterson-redskinsPeterson only played six games for the Cardinals. And he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry behind a porous offensive line.

Nevertheless, he still showed some explosiveness in his early 30s and rushed for over 130 yards in two different games. This wasn’t enough to convince Arizona to keep him, though, as they released him this past offseason.

“I would be lying to you if I said [the offseason] wasn’t tough, because you’re human,” said Peterson. “I’ve seen guys come through that door and guys go through this process. I had a great appreciation for it. But me knowing what I had left in the tank, that was the only thing bothering me. But I knew in due time the opportunity would present itself.”

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim alluded to Peterson not being able to catch the ball out of the backfield as a reason for his release.

“There’s no doubt that Adrian still has some juice left in the tank, particularly from a run-skill standpoint,” said Keim. “He still runs with a lot of anger and aggressiveness, and has the type of contact balance you look for in that position.

“But in today’s day and age, we all know that you have to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, you have to be able to do a lot of different things. So versatility is really a key.”

Can Peterson Carry an Offense at Age 33?

Age is likely another reason why the Cardinals wouldn’t commit to Peterson. However, Pro Bowl Redskins tackle Trent Williams believes that the 33-year-old is still a great player.

“I don’t understand the stigma when people get 31, 32, 33 — they somehow just slow down,” said Williams “You don’t. That’s a gifted athlete, you know? He has a gift.

“Did Darrell Green ever lose his speed? He didn’t. Some things are just always with you. It’s you, it’s your makeup, it’s your DNA. … So, no, he’s the same athlete that you’re used to seeing.”

Williams leads an offensive line that’s undoubtedly better than the one Peterson played behind in Arizona. And it could open up much bigger holes for him.

“I’ve always been a fan of the offensive line,” Peterson explained. “… I’ve always talked about playing behind a good offensive line. The last couple of years, kind of struggled in that department. Great head coach, a top-notch organization, so it made sense.”

adrian-peterson-redskins-1Peterson may not have the same home-run threat ability that he had throughout his earlier years with the Minnesota Vikings. But he still has more talent than many running backs, even at an age when most players have already retired.

“He’s actually a physical freak if you want to say that,” Gruden told the press after Peterson’s signing. “Like I said before, at the start of the workout Randy [Jordan] put him through to the end of the workout and he didn’t even break a sweat, hardly.

“He’s in great shape, explosive, and that is really what sold us. Sometimes these backs come in for workouts and they haven’t been doing anything, and you can tell they’re out shape.

“Some of the backs we had in here were huffing and puffing, keeling over and he’s standing straight up. He could have gone for another two hours. That played mostly into it — his great physical condition.”

2018 Washington Redskins Odds

Washington may need Peterson to return to his prime to have a shot at the postseason. They easily have the worst NFC East odds at the time of this writing. Here’s a look at GTBets’ current NFC Odds:

  • Dallas +375
  • New York Giants +450
  • Philadelphia -150
  • Washington +775