The NFL opening weekend continues on Saturday, and a whole lotta eyes will be on the shores of Lake Erie, where the Minnesota Vikings will pay a visit to the Cleveland Browns. Most folks will be watching to see how Brett Favre does with his new team now that the games actually count. But the Vikes also have another primetime player in the backfield in electric RB Adrian Peterson.
However, had things shaken up differently in the draft two years ago, Peterson could be running like mad for this Sunday’s opponent - Purple Jesus could have been Brown Jesus. And a former Cleveland personnel staffer says his team screwed up by not picking Peterson.
The CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER reports that the staffer - who remains nameless to probably protect any future employment in the NFL - said it was a “no-brainer” that the Browns should have selected Peterson with their #3 pick in the 2007 draft. But the Browns passed and chose tackle Joe Thomas instead, and Peterson was eventually picked by the Vikes at #7:
“In my mind, it was a no-brainer,” the personnel man said. “Adrian Peterson was the best running back in high school football, the best running back in college football and now he’s the best running back in the NFL. He was Rookie of the Year and led the NFL in rushing last season. We had a chance to draft the best player in the NFL outside of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and we blew it.”
The staffer blamed the passing of Peterson on discord among the coaching staff & personnel department, saying the two groups were too “fragmented” to come to a consensus on acquiring Adrian:
“There was definitely some debate and there was a faction in the organization that wanted to draft Peterson,” he said. “Phil (former Browns general manager Phil Savage) wanted to try to get quarterback JaMarcus Russell and there was a faction that wanted to draft Brady Quinn with the third pick. In the end, because we were so fragmented, I think Phil went with the safe pick, which was Joe Thomas.”
The staffer doesn’t totally discount the decision to take Thomas, who made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, but adds that “Joe Thomas was like hitting a double and Adrian Peterson would’ve been a homerun.”
Oh, Cleveland - will you ever win? Anyway, we’ll see on Sunday how badly Adrian proves the Browns staff wrong.