On Wednesday, we learned that Adrian Peterson feels “uneasy” about a return to the Vikings. Sunday brought a report that the running back would prefer to play for the Cowboys.
Well-connected NFL scribe Jason Cole of Bleacher Report said he is “hearing” that “Peterson wants to go to Dallas.” Cole added that the Vikings “do not want to trade him in any way, shape or form, specifically not to the Cowboys,” but also noted that the running back “could make this very uncomfortable” for Minnesota.
Peterson is in the midst of a seven-year deal with the Vikings, who drafted him in 2007. He sat out most 0f 2014 after news emerged of his role in a child-abuse case involving his 4-year-old son.
The Vikings supported the NFL’s decision to place Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list, amounting to paid leave, after the scandal broke. Following a misdemeanor plea in the child-abuse case, he was suspended by the league until April 15, a decision he is trying to have overturned.
Minnesota officials have recently expressed a desire to bring Peterson back once his suspension ends. However, doing so will incur a $15.4-million hit against the salary cap, a huge price for a player at his position, even one who appeared to be heading for the Hall of Fame before his career took an ugly turn.
Over his eight seasons in Minnesota, Peterson, 29, has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns, and he won the NFL’s MVP award in 2012. He is from Palestine, Tex., a small town less than a two-hour drive from Dallas.
A story emerged in August that Peterson had called Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, and told Jones that he wanted to join that team, to which Jones replied, “I’d like that, too.” It is unclear whether Peterson was referring to when his contract with the Vikings is set to expire in 2018.
As it happens, Jones might lose his team’s star running back, DeMarco Murray, to free agency, if the two sides cannot agree on a contract extension before March 10. Might the owner be inclined to swing a trade for Peterson?
Such a scenario would immediately conjure memories of the blockbuster 1989 trade in which Dallas sent running back Herschel Walker to Minnesota. That deal, which involved a massive number of players and draft picks, has been credited with helping to launch the Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Sunday that Peterson has not asked the Vikings to trade him to the Cowboys. But that does not necessarily contradict Cole’s assertion that the running back wants to play for Dallas, and teams often decide that it’s better to ship disgruntled players out rather than have their unhappiness infect the locker room.