Between the addition of first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire last April, the coming and going of former All-Pro Le’Veon Bell and the release of Super Bowl LIV hero Damien Williams in March, the top of the Kansas City Chiefs running back depth chart has been shaken up significantly in the last 12 months.
Flanked by Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for the time being, CEH is expected to see the lion’s share of the carries during his sophomore campaign in 2021. However, the AFC champions may not be done adding talent to the backfield via the upcoming NFL Draft or free agency.
On Tuesday, April 20, defensive captain Tyrann Mathieu took to Twitter to throw his support behind one free agent candidate he’d like to see Brett Veach and the Chiefs’ front office pursue this offseason.
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Mathieu Recruiting Adrian Peterson to KC?
Replying to a report from Pro Football Talk that former MVP running back Adrian Peterson is hoping to sign with a championship contender this year, the Chiefs’ All-Pro safety had a simple, but direct recruiting message.
“He should come to KC,” Mathieu wrote.
He should come to KC.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 21, 2021
Chiefs Kingdom has seen this before. Just in the last 18 months, Mathieu has twice attempted to use his star power to lure some more fellow All-Pro talents to his squad. In December 2019, “The Landlord” tweeted at former Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson to “Come to KC,” and later followed up with a personal pitch to former Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in March 2020.
Chiefs Had ‘Mutual Interest’ in Signing Peterson in 2020
This wouldn’t be the first time the future Hall of Famer has been linked to Kansas City, either. Last September, with one week until the start of the regular season, Peterson signed a one-year, $1.05 million contract to join the Detroit Lions, where he went on to start 10-of-16 games and post 604 yards and seven touchdowns on a team-leading 156 carries.
After prioritizing “an opportunity to play” last year, per NFL insider Josina Anderson, Peterson appears to be changing his tune after his brief stint in the Motor City.
This is an accurate report. There was indeed mutual interest between the Chiefs and Adrian Peterson, per source familiar with the situation.
Not only was Thursday night game an obstacle, but also COVID testing protocols of two straight days. Because of that, no consideration. https://t.co/5KIRdv3Gui
— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) September 6, 2020
However, because the Chiefs were hosting the league’s Thursday night opener less than a week later, COVID-19 protocols ultimately interfered with the idea. Instead, Kansas City held their ground and added another veteran running back in the form of Bell about five weeks later.
It’s worth noting that like Lions offensive coordinator Darell Bevell, who coached Peterson during his first four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, A.P. also has a close bond with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy from their days with the Vikings. During that same span from 2007-10, Bieniemy served as Peterson’s running backs coach, a relationship that could prove beneficial should Kansas City show interest again in the coming months.
Peterson Has 2 Remaining Career Goals
According to PFT’s Charean Williams, the 36-year-old Peterson has his eyes set on only two things as he enters his 15th season: winning a Super Bowl ring and breaking the NFL’s all-time career rushing record held by Emmitt Smith (18,355 yards). With 14,820 rushing yards to his name, Peterson currently ranks fifth on the list and would realistically need three more seasons of 1,200-yard production to close the 3,535-yard gap — a single-season mark he has eclipsed seven times in his career, but not since 2015.
“I’m looking for a team that’s built to go and chase a championship.”
Free Agent RB @AdrianPeterson discussed heading into his 15th season in the NFL.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) April 20, 2021
“I’m looking for a contender,” Peterson told SiriusXM NFL Radio on April 20. “I’m looking for a team that’s built to go and chase a championship. That’s my ultimate goal, and I feel like I can really help to contribute in accomplishing that. A team with a good quarterback, a good defense and some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. For me to be able to get into that type of situation would be perfect.”
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!