Adrian Peterson might help Rashaad Penny to make it into the 2022 Seahawks plans

SEATTLE — Adrian Peterson’s late-season acquisition by the Seattle Seahawks could extend Rashaad Penny’s Seattle career.

You’ve just read a sentence that you didn’t know you could.

Penny could still be running his course to a second contract with Seahawks. Penny puts together one massive performance after another and constantly points out the impact Peterson had on him since he was a veteran running back.

Penny stated, “When you have someone who has been running in this league so long and is close to the Hall of Fame,” “it honestly gives me a boost and I want to imitate everything that he does.”

Penny has been performing like Peterson during his prime, since taking over for Alex Collins as Seattle’s starter. In last week’s win over the Detroit Lions Penny ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns in 25 carries to earn the NFC Offensive Player Award.

Three times Penny has exceeded 130 yards rushing in the past four week, his best performance of his entire career. In that time, the NFL’s total rushing yards were 481 (on 69 attempts). His five rushing touchdowns rank tied for most in the NFL, while his 6.97 yards per carry average is third.

Duane brown, left tackle, stated that “he’s just running in confidence.” You can clearly see the shift he has made over the past few weeks. It is probably a combination of many things, but Penny is a force to reckon with.”

Penny, who was returning to Seattle for Week 12’s loss to Washington due to yet another injury, looked as though her tenure with Pete Carroll-GM John Schneider would end unceremoniously — either on inactive, injured reserve, or behind Collins on their depth chart.

All parties agree that it is no accident that Penny’s surge in popularity came after Peterson was signed by the Seahawks.

A team that was already out of playoff contention had to make a gutsy move and bring in a 36 year-old running back. However, coach Pete Carroll believed Peterson would pass his wisdom and legendary work ethic on to younger players. That projection has proven more true than anyone with Penny.

Carroll stated that Penny’s impact has been “startling” and compared it to Marshawn Lynch returning to Seattle at the end of the 2019 season. This was despite Peterson’s short-lived on-field career. After looking good in his first practices, he was able to play against the 49ers four days later. However, he did not play again due to a back injury.

Carroll spoke highly of Seattle’s younger players, saying that they are “kind of in awe” of Carroll. “And then the manner he worked, this is what it was. Every step he took was at top speed. He flew around. He looked amazing. We said, “Holy cow.” He did it again the next play. We only had three days, maybe two, of practice together. He did it so quickly. It was so obvious. It was obvious.

The most striking difference between Penny and other ball carriers is his assertiveness. He is hitting the ground harder, making tackles with more authority and finishing runs with greater confidence. He leads the league with 3.77 yards per rush after the first contact.

Penny stated, “You attack them before you attack yourself,” quoting the Peterson advice that has stayed with him the most. “So it is always just in my head.”

Since the Seahawks selected Penny in 2018 at 27th overall, he has received 12-plus carries six different times. It is indicative of the many injuries he has sustained and how much time he spent playing behind Chris Carson. Carson was injured in October. In six of his six games, Penny has exceeded 70 yards rushing and averaged at most 4.9 yards per run. He has also scored nine touchdowns.

It shouldn’t surprise that he is producing this much, but it’s not surprising that he has been able to do so. Penny missed 30 games, including playoffs, before his surge in Houston. Penny also suffered a torn ACL in late 2019.

There is always the caveat that Penny’s rookie contract will expire after this season. The Seahawks would need to resign him.

In either case, they will likely need to add another runningback — ideally in a draft — who is durable. They would be putting themselves in a precarious situation of counting on Carson after he’s had neck surgery or Penny with his long history of injuries.

Collins, who is currently on IR at season’s close, is also a non-exclusive agent. DeeJay Daly and Travis Homer are currently under contract in Seattle for 2022.

Penny’s re-signing might not cost as much if the running back market looks like last offseason. Carson, who has produced more and is more available than Penny’s, signed a two year deal that averaged $5.2million with $5.5million guaranteed.

The price is right so why wouldn’t they take a chance on Penny to continue his recent surge in popularity?

What he has done over the past few weeks doesn’t validate Seattle’s decision to take Penny over Nick Chubb, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a player many in the organization preferred in 2018. However, it validates what the Seahawks saw of Penny and what they may continue to expect from him after 2021.