Minnesota Vikings Rumors: Chris Johnson Trade for Adrian Peterson Backup? Maurice Jones-Drew, LeGarrette Blount Options After Toby Gerhart Signs to Jaguars

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Mar 24, 2014 03:55 PM EDT
Adrian Peterson
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. "

The Minnesota Vikings are busy sorting out who will start under center as quarterback for the 2014 season, but they also have other pressing needs the must be addressed possibly before the draft. After saying goodbye to backup running back Toby Gerhart in free agency, the team has Adrian Peterson and a lot of uncertainty. Reportedly in the market for a veteran, the Vikings have several options they can look at.

According to NFL.com, the Vikings are a possible candidate to make a trade for Chris Johnson so point before the draft. Johnson is no longer a leading running back for a team. He is a far cry from the player that put up 2,000 rushing yards or ran a record-setting 4.40 40-yard dash. However, Johnson could work well in tandem with Adrian Peterson. He has not missed a game in five seasons nor has he been held under 1,000 rushing yards. With the recent injury history to Peterson, that could be very welcoming to Minnesota.

The only thing that hinders this deal is money. Johnson is owed $8 million under his current deal. Not too many teams are going to take that on and if the Tennessee Titans are serious about moving on from Johnson, they might have to simply release him. A team is not likely to give up a draft pick plus take on the large contract Johnson is signed to.

That could leave signing a veteran free agent to backup Peterson. Maurice Jones-Drew is listed as a favorite for the Vikings. The veteran has taken visits to the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but has left without a deal both times. Jones-Drew is apparently letting his ego get the best of him, requesting $3 million per season. That size deal will not happen. However, teaming up with Peterson could be enticing for Jones-Drew.

Like Johnson, Jones-Drew is not a starting back, but a rotational backup. Despite what he may think about himself, Jones-Drew has struggled over the past few seasons, barely averaging above three yards per carry. If he can lower his contract demands, the Vikings might be interested in taking him on.

LeGarrette Blount is another, yet not likely, option for Minnesota. Peterson is not going to stay on that team forever. The running back faced a lot of trade rumors during the season and Minnesota might be considering moving on from him sooner rather than later. Blount is young and coming off his best season to date. The Vikings could sign him to a cheap deal and get him on board for when Peterson moves on.

All of these moves are speculation. NFL sources believe Minnesota will likely look towards free agency over the draft to get a running back that will help create a strong tandem on the team. All three players would fit well.

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