Since Adrian Peterson finished his 14th NFL campaign, he remains afloat in the open market without a new team. Peterson has repeatedly voiced a strong desire to extend his illustrious career another year. It may have just led to another opportunity arising for the future Hall of Famer.
The LA Rams lose Cam Akers to an Achilles injury
With the 2021 season less than two months away, the Los Angeles Rams were dealt a significant blow after second-year running back Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
Akers quickly became a game-changing factor in his rookie campaign as the Rams’ leading rusher with 625 yards and two touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. It included him tallying 194 total scrimmage yards against the New England Patriots, which his 171 rushing yards marked the most by a rookie in franchise history since Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis in 1993.
The 22-year-old followed it up with 272 total scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games. It featured him racking up 131 rushing yards and a touchdown in the wildcard road win against the Seattle Seahawks.
Before the injury, Akers was primed to secure a significant role as the lead back in the Rams’ running game in 2021. His absence shifts the game plan in the backfield toward other options. One of which may lead down the path of a future Hall of Famer entering the fray.
Adrian Peterson may have just seen the door open to his next NFL landing spot
The Rams must quickly move forward toward an alternative plan with Akers out for the entire 2021 season.
The injury could open the door to former star running back Adrian Peterson receiving an opportunity. Last week, the seven-time Pro Bowler voiced he’s aiming to play a 15th season.
“The training is going well and I’m going to control the things that I can control right now, and, when that time comes, somebody will give me a call,” Peterson told Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790. “That’s all I’m asking for. My body feels good. I came out healthy from last season. My body feels strong. I still feel young. I still feel good. I’m ready to play ball.”
Peterson is coming off a productive campaign with the Detroit Lions, where he recorded 604 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns while playing in all 16 games. The 36-year-old is a viable option in the running game, which the Rams could lean on his experience and reliable production.
Peterson remains eyeing breaking Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s rushing record. He currently sits 450 yards behind Barry Sanders (15,269) for fourth on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Los Angeles fits the bill as another chance to potentially compete for a Super Bowl.
Peterson also holds the connection with Matthew Stafford as the two played alongside each other last season in Detroit. Ultimately, the 36-year-old wouldn’t step in as the starter but will provide more backfield depth.
Rams will first lean on internal backfield options
Akers’ injury hasn’t sent the Rams into panic mode to explore the free-agent market to stabilize the backfield.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the team will lean initially on its in-house options with Darrell Henderson, Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and rookie Jake Funk. Henderson demonstrated flashes of promise last year behind his speed, racking up 624 rushing yards on 4.5 yards per attempt.
The Memphis product will get the first crack as the workhorse option in the running game while Jones, Calais, and Funk will likely compete for playing time behind him. Although Peterson isn’t an immediate option, he may still land in Los Angeles before the 2021 season.