Adrian Peterson is set to be an unrestricted free agent next week. The future Hall of Fame running back made no secret of his interest in the Raiders after the Minnesota Vikings declined his 2017 contract option.
His people have been pushing the Raiders option in private, and Peterson himself told ESPN the Silver and Black were an intriguing option.
Whether the Raiders have interest is another matter. Peterson doesn’t seem like a great scheme fit – he isn’t functional in the passing game, as a receiver or protector – but the 31-year old can certainly produce on the ground.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn't comment on Peterson specifically, but said Thursday interest from top talents is a positive sign. It means the Raiders have become an attractive destination. A few years back, they had trouble spending salary cap space soundly. Now players view Oakland as a place to thrive.
“I think it’s great that we’re on the list of guys who are premier guys,” Del Rio told Bay Area reporters at the NFL scouting combine. “To the best of my knowledge, he’s still with the Vikings, right? So don’t get me in trouble talking about…I’m not out there trying to target other players are recruit other players.
“But I think the message I get is that players and coaches and people recognize that this is a good place to be, that we have turned this thing around. When I first arrived three years ago, the thought was nobody wants to come here. We battled through that and became a place that people wanted to come and over the last two years we’ve been able to attract some nice free agents and, of course, pay them. That’s part of it. But it has become a destination where people recognize we do have a good young nucleus and a quarterback and some pieces in place to have a good run, so they want to be a part of it.”
That could help the Raiders strengthen the roster this spring. They have funds required to pay players, and the reputation to help them sign. The Raiders need some key pieces to improve on last year’s group, especially on defense at interior linebacker, cornerback and defensive tackle.