Can Adrian Peterson Actually Help The Seahawks?

Photo: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks agreed to terms with free-agent running back Adrian Peterson on Wednesday afternoon, adding the 36-year-old Canton-bound rusher to their practice squad. Peterson is expected to be elevated to Seattle's active roster and should immediately carve out a role for himself in a backfield that is unfortunately riddled with injury, but we don't envision him being able to elevate what's already a disappointing rushing unit.

Peterson most recently played for the Tennessee Titans, last appearing in a game just two weeks ago. Peterson was initially signed by the Titans after their bell-cow running back Derrick Henry suffered a serious foot injury. One of the league's greatest runners of the football in pro history, Peterson's tenure in Tennessee could be summed up with one word: Disaster. 

The former Minnesota Viking carried the ball a healthy 27 times across three appearances in Tennessee, and gained just 82 yards, or a rather pedestrian three yards per carry. Peterson averaged 2.6 or fewer yards per carry in two games and his disappointing overall numbers were only boosted by a 16-yard rush in a loss to the lowly Houston Texans in Week 11. 

As much as we'd love to place our heroes in a time capsule and prevent them from aging, Peterson very much looked like a 36-year-old rusher that's well past his prime. The Titans found themselves in a desperate situation while being forced to operate in a post-Henry world, and Peterson failed to meet their reasonable expectations—and was promptly released in under a month. The Titans had seen enough of Peterson running high and failing to hit the appropriate rushing lanes and decided to move forward with the uninspiring duo of Dontrell Hilliard and D'Onta Foreman (those are the guys Peterson couldn't beat out).

Peterson moves onto the 3-8 Seahawks now, whose playoff hopes have already all but ended. Success has been hard to come by for a Seahawks offense that's averaging an astonishingly low 9.3 points per game while embarking on a rather hopeless three-game losing streak. A poor rushing attack has directly contributed to Seattle's hapless offense. 

The latest defeat occurred on Monday Night Football at the hands of the surging Washington Football Team. Starting quarterback Russell Wilson served as the team's leading rusher, gaining all of 16 yards on two attempts. Alex Collins, who has replaced the injured Chris Carson as the lead back, was held to just 14 yards on seven rushing attempts. It's been a rough stretch for Collins, who has failed to account for 50 rushing yards in a single contest in his last five appearances despite handling more than 10 touches per game across that timeline.

Head coach Pete Carroll hopes to witness Peterson improve his team's lackluster rushing attack, but there's zero reason to believe he's capable of doing so. Peterson encountered a good run-blocking offensive line in Tennessee, one that was on pace to propel Henry to his second consecutive 2,000-yard season before injury reared its ugly head. Peterson couldn't make it work with that offensive line and he'll find a much worse unit in Seattle, one that ranks near the bottom of the league in overall rushing efficiency. 

Seattle is in the midst of experiencing the franchise's most disappointing campaign in more than a decade and Peterson isn't going to salvage the inevitable from occurring.

Written By:

Justin Melo

Staff Writer

Justin Melo is an NFL draft analyst that cut his teeth at The Draft Breakdown and USA Today's Draft Wire. He specializes in interviewing prospects, but also produces big boards, mock drafts, and scouting reports. He also covers the Tennessee Titans nationally for Broadway Sports Media and SB Nation.