Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Adrian Peterson a Buccaneer? He’s got Tampa Bay on his radar

Photo by Rich Gabrielson/Icon Sportswire

The Buccaneers are in need of a running back and one running back that may be in need of a new home come the start of the new league year is Adrian Peterson.

Could they be a match?

Peterson thinks so.

Speaking on First Take on ESPN today, Peterson mentioned “Tampa Bay’’ as one of the places he’s actually thought about as a destination should things not work out in Minnesota.

“If (a return to Minnesota) doesn’t happen, (I want to go to) a place where me and my family are comfortable, where I can play for a championship,’’ Peterson said.

“That’s my main goal and with that in mind (I’d seek) a team that has a good defense, a team that has a good offensive scheme and a good coaching staff. There are a couple out there that I’ve thought about.’’

In addition to Tampa Bay Peterson said he’s also thought about the New York Giants and the Houston Texans as possible destinations but he refused to name any others.

Now, Peterson, 31, made it clear he’s hopeful things will work out in Minnesota. For that to happen, though, the Vikings have to exercise their option on a $17.75 million contract for 2017.

That deal includes an $11.75 million base salary and a $6 million roster bonus that kicks in on the third day of the new league year, which means the Vikings have a big decision to make and soon.

A new deal for Peterson would have to be completed probably before the new league year begins, but one thing that should help the Vikings decide is Peterson’s confidence that he’s good to go for the long term.

Peterson has missed all but four games the last two years because of knee injuries, but he says he believes he’s got five good years left in him and he intends to play them out somewhere.

“Five more years, that’s a number I’m comfortable with,’’ Peterson said. “I definitely have five more years left. And next season I’ll be ready to go at a high level.’’

The Bucs could use a running back playing at a high level. They didn’t get that from either Doug Martin or Charles Sims in 2016 and their offense slipped a bit as a result.

And now, with Martin in rehab addressing a drug dependency issue; Sims recovering from yet another injury and Jacquizz Rodgers headed for free agency, the Bucs are in the market for a running back.

Not only that, but with about $70 million worth of cap space available to them, the Bucs are one of the few teams that could actually afford to take Peterson on.

“All Day” says he’s interested. Now, are they?

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