At first glance the Lions’ signing of Adrian Peterson looked odd, but they’ll need him to contribute right away.
If Adrian Peterson wants to win a Super Bowl or stay on a good pace to make any kind of run at the all-time rushing lead, signing with the Detroit Lions seemed to serve neither purpose at all. But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Lions have placed running Bo Scarbrough on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.
Scarbrough could miss as little as three weeks, but without knowing what his injury is a timeline can’t be clear. Rookie D’Andre Swift fell behind after missing over a week of camp practice with a leg injury, so his status for next Sunday against the Chicago Bears is unclear until injury reports come out this week. Swift may have a limited role even if he is healthy enough to play.
The Lions will need Peterson to contribute right away
Kerryon Johnson is lined up to be lead back for the Lions in the season opener, and perhaps a bit longer if Swift is slow to recover completely. Ty Johnson now looks likely to be more prominent in the mix early on, but he’s not a difference maker.
Johnson has not been a picture of durability in his first two seasons, with knee injuries costing him 14 of 32 games. That helped the decision to take Swift in the second round of April’s draft, beyond the notion he was just purely the best player available. Swift’s camp injury didn’t seem to spur action for the Lions to consider adding another back, but Scarbrough’s injury thinned the depth. The Lions also waived 2020 fifth-round pick Jason Huntley to further thin the ranks, perhaps as they were talking to Peterson.
Peterson routinely ran roughshod over the Bears as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He may not get enough carries to do so in a big way in Week 1, but the Lions will be counting on him to offer an immediate contribution.