Coach Mike McCarthy said everything remains on the table, including the draft and the remaining veteran free agents, to fill the Packers’ needs. They currently have just two running backs on the roster: converted receiver Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael.
“I think you look at all those guys,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “It’s no secret what’s available in the draft. The numbers are really good there. Personally, I think the world of Adrian. I think he’s obviously a great player, a Hall of Fame player. I had a chance to be around him, not only to compete against him twice a year but at the Pro Bowls. He’s a class act. We’ll just see how it shakes out.”
The only thing McCarthy would guarantee is he would have more running backs on his roster when OTAs start in early May than he does now.
When asked specifically about whether Peterson was still in play or if the Packers have decided not to pursue him, McCarthy reiterated that “we’re looking at all players.”
“Adrian Peterson is obviously someone we have great respect for, obviously playing him the number of times that we have, but we’re trying to improve our offense all the time,” McCarthy said. “So as far as what’s going on, we don’t really discuss those things publicly, but you know, I think it’s obvious if you look at our depth chart. We have two running backs on our depth chart -- two healthy running backs -- so we’re going to have more running backs. I don’t know when they’re going to get there, but we will have more running backs come the middle of May -- I can promise you that.”
One thing that could work against a possible Peterson fit with the Packers is his inability to play on third down. Because McCarthy uses the no-huddle system extensively, he wants running backs who can pass protect on third downs so that he doesn’t have to slow down the pace of the offense to make substitutions.
“I think when you have situational players, it puts a hiccup in your flow,” McCarthy said. “This game’s about flow, attacking the opponents, so the more a guy can play first, second and third down, obviously he has more value.”
Peterson, 32, played in only three games last season for the Vikings, who declined to pick up his option for 2017, thus making him a free agent. He sustained a knee injury against the Packers in Week 2 and then played only one more game after that.
ESPN’s Mike Sando contributed to this report.