3. Adrian Peterson (RB-MIN)
In light of a child abuse case that crippled his 2014 campaign, Adrian Peterson’s behavior deprived him of a year of his prime. Peterson enters 2015 at the age of 30, a dangerous year in the life of an NFL running back, a long time removed from live action after not having played since Week 1 of last year.
Given these troubling notions, Adrian Peterson is barely considered, at least by SI.com’s Doug Farrar, a legitimate, top-ten running back in the NFL. He does not have the pressure of playing under a large contract that Brees does, but given a new initiative started by the Vikings, he has been branded the face of the franchise’s “Family Day,” Peterson must prove he can move past his revolting allegation and become a worthy tailback in the league again.
With the success of Peterson, an MVP in 2012, Minnesota was rewarded with a brand new facility, the U.S. Bank Stadium, opening in 2016. But with the the NFL being so quarterback-driven, the Vikings may no longer be Peterson’s team, especially given that he enters 2016 a year older, and Teddy Bridgewater comes in a year wiser. Like Brees, Peterson is losing his grip on his team, unless he, like Brees, can prove himself a leader. Consequently, Peterson cannot afford a subpar year in 2015, although it may be advocacy against child abuse, not sustaining an NFL career, that becomes his focus instead.
Can Vikings fans forgive and allow their star tailback to breathe this season?