The Vikings essentially let the world know on Tuesday they no longer would be in the Adrian Peterson business, declining to pick up the running back’s option for 2017. That’s no surprise: letting Peterson leave into free agency was a no-brainer given his contract, which allowed Minnesota to dump a weighty cap number with no penalty. 

That doesn’t mean he can’t return to Minnesota in 2017. His heartstrings may be stronger than his purse strings, and Peterson could take a reduced contract that allows him to finish his career with the team that drafted him in 2007.

However, a reunion feels unlikely, especially with a glut of suitors for Peterson next year. So where could he play in 2017? There’s a spicy list of teams that are headlined by the biggest name brand in all sports.

Dallas Cowboys

As soon as the Vikings released a statement about the future of Peterson, rumors about the Cowboys began to percolate. 

The Cowboys make sense for Peterson. Peterson is from Texas. He previously has said he would love to play for Dallas. Jerry Jones previously has said he would love to have Peterson play for the Cowboys. The Cowboys are a run-heavy team and pairing Peterson with Ezekiel Elliott would minimize injury potential for both. Peterson would fit in seamlessly with the Cowboys offense -- imagine him coming through holes created by Tyron Smith, Zach Martin and Travis Frederick and the pain he could inflict on defenders. He would immediately jump to a contender.

But there are just as many reasons, most of which may weigh heavier, why Peterson won’t land in Dallas. The Cowboys are flush with salary cap space right now, particularly as they figure out how to handle the Tony Romo situation. Peterson might not be willing to take less money to join the Cowboys, even if they offer a perfect fit. He might not be willing to serve as Elliott’s backup. 

It’s a fun scenario to imagine but it’s also not entirely realistic. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One of the teams Peterson mentioned earlier this offseason, the Bucs could serve as a very nice mix of cash and quality for Peterson. The Bucs have plenty of salary cap space heading into 2017 and might be looking to move on from Doug Martin, who was suspended near the end of the 2016 season and could represent a long-term concern. If you want to move on from Martin and minimize the PR hit of cutting a guy who just got a fat contract, signing one of the greatest running backs of all time to deflect the attention is a pretty savvy move. 

The Buccaneers absolutely are willing to get under center and run the ball, and adding Peterson plus another receiving weapon in the draft and some additional offensive line help to Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate could make this a high-octane offense. 

Tampa just missed the playoffs last season, so this would qualify was a contender that could give Peterson a deal close to what he believes his market value is. 

Oakland Raiders

This is an easy fit, too. The Raiders made the playoffs and are on the rise, going 12-5 in Jack Del Rio’s second season. Oakland was very good in large part because of its offense, and its offense was very good in large part because of the offensive line.

Watching that group shove around the Denver Broncos defense in prime time was a message-sending outing for that unit. 

Latavius Murray is a free agent this offseason, which means DeAndre Washington, Taiwan Jones and Jalen Richard are the only guys left on the depth chart. That’s a talented and interesting group of running backs, but it lacks power the true power runner that Peterson would provide. He could have a big year behind that offensive line. Oakland is in good shape as far as the cap goes (although the Raiders have some extensions on the horizon), making it a financial viability as well. 

Green Bay Packers

AP could go full Favre! Maybe he’s so angry about being spurned by the Vikings that he decides he’s going to just suit up for a small amount of money, play for their archrival and try to win a Super Bowl by beating up on Minnesota twice a year. The Packers need running back help with Eddie Lacy headed to free agency.

Ted Thompson isn’t going to spend a bunch of money on Peterson, but he’s shown he’ll dabble in the big-name veteran market if the price is right (see: Julius Peppers).

Offensively the Packers might not offer quite as good a fit, especially if Aaron Rodgers is frequently operating out of the shotgun. But Green Bay probably would welcome the freedom to run the ball out of power sets more often.

Minnesota Vikings

And, of course, these two could always kiss and make up. Football is a business and Peterson had to see the contract decision coming, considering the money on the table. Among the all-time great Vikings, he was drafted by Minnesota and he is beloved by the fans.

But he’s also an elderly running back who believes he is still worth top-flight money as the market for running backs just isn’t what it was when he signed his last deal with the team.

With the Vikings’ offensive line issues and Sam Bradford under center, it’s not entirely clear Peterson is necessarily a good fit from an offensive standpoint either.