Adrian Peterson Signs Titans Contract After Derrick Henry Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 1, 2021

Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson (28) is seen during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

The Tennessee Titans and future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson reached an agreement on a contract Monday in the wake of Derrick Henry's foot injury.

Peterson confirmed the deal to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports:

IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

RB Adrian Peterson tells me he is signing with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a>. "The workout was good. It feels good to get back into football movement and to sign with a contender. We have big shoes to fill for Derrick Henry who I feel was the front runner for MVP, but I'm looking forward to... 1/2

IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

Adrian Peterson to me continued 2/2: "...contributing to the running back room and helping the Titans to win the division and to chase the ultimate goal of winning a championship."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the agreement, noting Peterson will go on the practice squad with the plan of elevating him to the main roster.

Peterson was signed after the Titans confirmed Derrick Henry will need surgery on a foot injury suffered Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Head coach Mike Vrabel didn't put a timeline on Henry's return, but Rapoport noted the Titans expect Henry back this season and that he could miss eight weeks:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From NFL Now: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a> RB Derrick Henry will have foot surgery tomorrow morning and be out 6-10 weeks. Six would be quite fast, eight is more likely. Either way, Tennessee expects Henry back this season. <a href="https://t.co/UzoJqNlcFF">pic.twitter.com/UzoJqNlcFF</a>

Peterson is one of the most decorated playmakers of his generation. His resume includes the 2012 NFL MVP Award, the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, seven Pro Bowl appearances and four first-team All-Pro selections across 14 seasons.

The 36-year-old Texas native has led the NFL in rushing three times, highlighted by a 2,097-yard season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 that ranks second in league history.

He hasn't lived up to that standard since leaving Minnesota in 2017 for stops with the New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Football Team and Detroit Lions.

Peterson has averaged 4.0 yards per carry over the past four seasons. He recorded a team-high 604 yards on 156 carries (3.9 YPC) with seven touchdowns across 16 appearances for the Lions in 2020.

The 2007 first-round pick told Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 Radio in July that he felt ready to make an impact in 2021 despite getting passed over during the initial phases of free agency.

"The training is going well and I'm going to control the things that I can control right now, and, when that time comes, somebody will give me a call," he said. "That's all I'm asking for. My body feels good. I came out healthy from last season. My body feels strong. I still feel young. I still feel good. I'm ready to play ball."

The Oklahoma product added that trying to win a Super Bowl title before retirement remained his goal: "Yeah, I've been chasing it for a long time. It would be nice to finally get one."

Peterson will also get a chance to continue climbing the NFL's all-time rushing list. He sits fifth with 14,820 yards, which is 449 yards behind Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders for the No. 4 spot.

Peterson is more of an early-down backfield committee member than a dominant three-down workhorse at this stage of his career. He can provide value in the more limited role for the Titans as he still has a nose for the end zone with 20 total touchdowns over the last three years.

He should slot in alongside Jeremy McNichols as the Titans look to cobble together a run game to replace the NFL's leading rusher.