What's Next For Adrian Peterson?

The answer to the question, "where is Adrian Peterson going to play next season?" is probably the most anticipated news of the off-season. At one point, Peterson even said he was considering retirement and might pursue becoming an Olympic sprinter. He previously told ESPN, "For me, it’s like, ‘Why should I continue to be a part of an organization or a business that handles players the way they do? Making money off the field anyway, why not continue to pursue that [Olympic] dream and pursue other dreams and hang up the cleats?'" 

While Peterson has shown that he plans on continuing his NFL career, his bitterness towards the Minnesota Vikings persists and grows stronger as they continue to hold on to him. His agent Ben Dogra recently told Jarrett Bell of USA Today, "We want out of Minnesota." However, even if the Vikings give in to Peterson's insistence, there is no sure answer to the question of where he will play next season. The most popular landing spot for the Texas native running back is with the Dallas Cowboys. The conversation between Adrian Peterson and Jerry Jones in the beginning of last season was what initially began the fascination towards the possibility that Peterson would play the rest of his years in his home state and end his career in fairy-tale fashion. 

However, this would not be a plausible move for the Cowboys and is one they are unlikely to make. After letting go of their star running back in DeMarco Murray because of the high price tag he came with, it is evident that the Cowboys are not looking to allocate any large portion of their salary cap to the backfield. This is understandable considering it is beyond unnecessary to do. With three pro-bowl offensive linemen in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, the Cowboys require nothing spectacular at the running back position. 

However, what they do require is a workhorse and a complete running back, one that can be a factor in the passing game as a receiver as well as a blocker. The success that Murray had in 2014 was not built on transcending skill at any particular phase of the game, but rather his ability to be versatile and take an average of 25 carries a game behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Peterson, on the other hand, has the opposite skill set of that ideal for success with the Cowboys. While Peterson is arguably the best pure runner in the NFL, he lacks the versatility the Cowboys' offensive scheme requires a running back to have. 

In addition, the eight year NFL veteran has passed the infamous 2,000 carry mark, and as a result of Peterson's physical running style, most of these carries came with heavy doses of contact. Not to mention the effects of a major knee surgery that are sure to linger. Therefore, it comes into question whether or not he can hold up much longer. The Cowboys have already shown resistance to investing heavily in a running back, and even if they decide to so, Peterson would be the wrong person to invest in. 

The right person to invest in for the Cowboys, if they decide to put out, would be Melvin Gordon. A young, fresh-legged back that has proven to play well behind a great offensive line, that has versatility and a large work capacity, would be a new and improved replacement for DeMarco Murray. Gordon could not only fill the shoes of Murray, but could give the Cowboys the extra big play potential that pushes them into the super bowl. 

But as far as Adrian Peterson goes, the real determinant to whether or not the Cowboys should invest in him, or any team for that matter, should go beyond what he has done on the playing field. The NFL's case history of upholding morality is evidently not a commendable one. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business, but this situation is one in which the line needs to be drawn. After the recent Ray Rice scandal, one would think that the NFL would see these issues in a new light, but they continue to dismiss their moral responsibilities. 

While the current question is, "where is Adrian Peterson going to play next season?" it should be "should Adrian Peterson be even allowed to play next season?" And if the NFL once and for all decides to put their foot down with not only Peterson but the several other players in the league that have been found guilty of domestic violence, the answer to this question should be an austere NO. It is understood by most, if not all, that Peterson is one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL; but there needs to be an end to the dismissal of moral issues for the sake of saving an athlete's playing career no matter how great or decorated he may be. 

It is this very dismissal and indifference towards domestic violence and other existing issues that enable them to continue, and the league has done just that; they have continued to protect their stars at the expense of enabling domestic violence. Just suspending Peterson and keeping the issue hushed up is not the answer. We would hope that a professional sports league as celebrated and influential as the NFL would use this opportunity to set an example not just to their players, but to the public as well as to the damaging and inhumane nature of domestic violence. 

However, rather than draw attention to the issue, the NFL persists in hiding from it. There has not been a single statement issued by the commissioner directly addressing the numerous cases of domestic violence among NFL players. But if there is anyone to be commended in this situation, it is the players that took a stand against domestic violence and the Minnesota Vikings for putting THEIR foot down and taking him off the field even though they struggled without him. The fact that he had even been reinstated is blasphemy towards those who are victimized by this type of violence and further shows our society's complete disregard for victims and sycophancy towards "successful athletes."

Here, Cris Carter addresses the real issue in this case, that goes beyond the general issue of domestic violence: this is a case of abuse. The graphic pictures of the child's leg do not need to be explained, but sadly the issue of physical discipline does. Cris Carter said it best: "It is wrong," plain and simple. The excuses, "That's how we do it in the south" and "That's how we were brought up" are in no way a valid justification for using physical discipline. 

One would hope that in 2015, we would be educated to acknowledge that physical discipline is flat-out wrong without making a controversial issue out of whether or not it should be used. There are innumerable scientific studies that again and again show that physical discipline is not only one-hundred percent ineffective, but is detrimental and damaging. And the worst part of it all is that this cycle of violence of people saying, "That's how we were brought up" continues into future generations of victims of this practice. So its not about Adrian Peterson. Its about this child and the millions of other children who face the same abuse and are subjected to this inhumane and barbaric disciplinary practice. There are things much more important than football, and for once lets not let these things be forgotten. 

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