The money has started to talk and as a result, Adrian Peterson has been placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s permission list indefinitely by the Vikings. On Monday, the Vikings issued a statement that they were supporting Peterson through the legal process and would allow him to practice and play until that process played out. Almost immediately, sponsors of the Vikings and the NFL began voicing their displeasure, which only intensified after reports that Peterson may have abused another child in 2013 surfaced. Several local merchants in Minnesota began pulling any merchandise associated with Peterson off their shelves and Anheuser-Busch, a long-time deep pocketed sponsor of the NFL issued a statement in which they expressed disappointment and concern over the league’s handling of the Rice and Peterson behaviors. This resulted in a complete reversal of the Vikings’ position statement from Monday, as the backlash caused them to seek an alternative solution. The NFL offered the Exempt/Commissioner’s permission list as an option and Vikings took it.
We’re not going to debate the moral or legal issues here, nor are we going to comment on the actions of the NFL sponsors and the Vikings. We are, however, going to tell you what happens now in the Fantasy Football realm that Adrian Peterson is out of the picture…again. First of all, Peterson has an arraignment scheduled for October 8, but it appears that will be of little or no consequence and won’t change anything with regard to his NFL status. A trial is unlikely to happen before 2015, so for all intents and purposes it looks like Peterson will not play again this season, although, it must be noted that this is only speculation at this point. As we’ve already seen, anything can happen. Just ask Matt Asiata’s Fantasy owners! Here’s the outlook for Asiata and the Vikings’ offensive players:
Matt Asiata – He takes over as the primary ball carrier for the Vikings. While he didn’t have a very good game against the Patriots in Week 2, he did have several encouraging plays and he can’t shoulder all of the blame for the Vikings’ offensive woes. Remember, he became the starter just two days before Peterson was first deactivated. The Vikings’ next three games are against the Saints, Falcons and Packers; all three teams are in the Top 10 for Fantasy points allowed to running backs, with the Falcons being number one. Asiata is a capable running back and contributes in the passing game as well. Look for him to at least be a viable Flex play when the matchup is favorable, and he has RB1 potential against weak rush defenses like the Falcons. Asiata should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Jerick McKinnon – We haven’t seen much from McKinnon so far, but with Peterson now out indefinitely the Vikings will be forced to get him involved in the offense; at the very least he’ll be a change of pace back but they could go as far as developing a committee approach with McKinnon and Asiata. The dreaded RBBC approach would limit both running backs’ value but it creates the potential for a hot hand to emerge. That means McKinnon is worth adding in all deeper (14-plus team) leagues and stashing in 12-team leagues that have roster space.
Teddy Bridgewater – The Vikings weren’t expected to contend this season and the loss of Peterson only diminishes their hopes further. Matt Cassel is simply not a very good quarterback; he’s not very mobile, isn’t all that accurate and his decision making was questionable at best against the Patriots, who picked him off four times. At some point, the Vikings are going to want to give their quarterback of the future some real game experience, and adding Bridgewater into the offense will help take some of the spotlight off of the Peterson affair and give fans a glimpse of the team’s future star. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings make a switch at QB sometime in the not too distant future. Bridgewater was quite good during the preseason, completing 30 of 49 pass attempts (61 percent) for 283 yards with five TDs and zero interceptions, good enough for a QB rating of 111.2. In two-QB leagues, Bridgewater is worth stashing away if roster space allows. I’m going to stick my neck out and speculate that Bridgewater is the starting QB no later than Week 11, right after the Vikings’ bye week and possibly sooner if Cassel continues to play as he has to date.
Cordarrelle Patterson – We’ve already seen Patterson’s star rise during the first two weeks, and now that Peterson is gone he will become more of the focal point of the offense. There is no doubt that he is their big playmaker now, so look for him to become even more heavily involved in the offense going forward. The Saints and Falcons are again in the Top 10 for Fantasy Points allowed to the WR position, so the next two games could be huge for Patterson.