Adrian Peterson is getting another shot to return to the NFL.
The 33-year-old running back, who last was seen with the Arizona Cardinals last season, reportedly has signed with Washington after a rash of injuries have crippled Jay Gruden's backfield. Second-round pick Derrius Guice is out for the season with a torn ACL, and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both also have gone down in the preseason with ankle injuries.
Perine and Marshall could be back prior to the start of the season, and Gruden has said that — at least for now — Rob Kelley is Washington's starting running back. But Peterson has a chance to earn a role on this team as a first- and second-down runner.
The 12th-leading rusher in league history, Peterson only averaged 3.4 yards a carry last season with the New Orleans Saints and Cardinals. But he also logged two games down the stretch in Arizona with 134 and 159 yards rushing, proving he can carry the load in short spells.
Interestingly, Washington opens the season at Arizona in Week 1 and travels to New Orleans in Week 5, which could provide payback games for Peterson if he makes the team. Washington is not scheduled to face the Minnesota Vikings, with whom Peterson spent the bulk of his mostly brilliant 11-year career.
Peterson's 2017 season ended with a neck injury, and he received tepid interest in free agency. He's the second-leading active rusher (12,276 yards) behind Miami's Frank Gore and needs only 4 yards to pass Marshall Faulk and 37 to pass Jim Brown on the all-time rushing list. Doing that would land Peterson in the top 10 all time, and he's one rushing TD away from an even 100 for his career.
Washington hasn't rushed for a touchdown in two preseason games. Perine (7.6 yards per attempt) and Kapri Bibbs (6.0) have been the standout performers, and the team is hopeful that Chris Thompson — who has been held out of action to date — will return to the third-down role he excelled at last season before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Kelley has rushed 11 times for 23 yards with a long run of 5 in the preseason so far.
Can Peterson first make the roster — and then can he add much? It's hard to say how big an impact he'll have, but if he can stem the tide until Washington is back close to full strength, it could be a good short-term solution.