The consensus among NFL insiders is that Adrian Peterson is in for another big year with Vikings’ starting quarterback QB Teddy Bridgewater out for the season with a torn ACL. The loss of their signal-caller means that whatever run-pass balance the offense hoped to maintain throughout the 2016-17 season is out the window, and the unit is expected to go to their backfield workhorse early and often.
Minnesota picked up veteran QB Sam Bradford just days before the start of the regular season in a trade with the Eagles to help fill the void. He’s a bit of a downgrade at the position at this point of his career, and is coming in with the goal of managing the offense, not leading it. That’s Peterson’s job. With this in mind, get on board with these free sports picks now, for wagering on the running back’s performance could present big value in the betting market.
Peterson is entering his 10th season already sporting a Hall of Fame resume, which includes three rushing titles, seven Pro Bowls, five first-team All-Pros, and a league MVP. Can he add more accolades to his Canton plaque this year? You bet.
Oddsmakers agree that Peterson is the most likely choice to pick up his fourth leading rusher title. Online sports book 5Dimes lists the Vikings’ running back as the favorite to lead the NFL in rushing yards at +600 odds, slightly ahead of the Rams’ Todd Gurley (+650) and Cowboy first-year pro Ezekiel Elliott (+850). Not a bad price considering he’ll likely touch the ball 300-plus times, but wear and tear on his body, and his age is a concern.
Peterson is 31-years old, which is ancient for a tailback in the modern game. He is as gifted and driven as they come, though, and proved age means nothing by topping the league in rushing last season with 1,485 yards. He became just the third player in NFL history to win the rushing title in his 30s along with the Browns’ Marion Motley (30) back in 1950 and the Jets’ Curtis Martin (31) in 2004. The word out of Minnesota is that he looked spry, fresh, and carrying plenty of burst in camp.
Injury is also a worry, but this applies to all running backs, no matter their age, so don’t let it stop you from placing a wager—its part of the game. Peterson has played an entire 16-game season just four times in his career. He did it in 2008 with a career-high 363 carries, as well as 2009 (314), 2012 (348) and last season (327). Peterson averages 19.8 carries per game lifetime.
In addition to seizing the rushing title, betting on Peterson to record the most NFL touchdowns this season is another valuable wager. He is second choice at +800 odds, trailing only the Cardinals David Johnson (+700). Elliot (+900) and Gurley (+1000) round out the top four listings.
Our favorite bet, and the richest, is for Peterson to pick up his second MVP crown. Sportsbetting.ag lists the Vikings running back as the 13th choice to win it at +4500 odds. Frankly, there is a lot of value here. Even without Bridgewater, Minnesota is expected to make the playoffs and challenge for the NFC championship, which is essentially a perquisite to winning the honor. The defense is the team’s strength and will keep it in every contest.
On the eve of the regular-season, the year already rings a bit like 2012 when Peterson nabbed his one and only MVP award. That year, many doubted whether Peterson would be the same after returning early from a gruesome knee injury just nine months prior. Minnesota was also weak at quarterback with Christian Ponder the man under center. The passing offense ranked 31s that season, next too last in the NFL, and Peterson carried the team on his back. The Vikes notched 10 victories and a wild-card berth behind the running back’s 2,092 yards. Heck Ponder recorded just 14 wins in his career as an NFL starter, 10 of them courtesy of Peterson’s MVP season.