Soooooooo, the usually boring mandatory OTA's and minicamps got a little bit more interesting for the Vikings this week, as SuperDuperStar Adrian Peterson isn't there. And Brad Childress is pissed. But Brett Favre, who's technically under contract, isn't there. And he seems to be okay with that.
I'm not ready to say Something Is Rotten in Denmark (look, my wife and I went to Shakespeare in the Park on Thursday, so get off me about it), but one of the things about giving people preferential treatment is that maybe other people, who are just as talented and just as important to the team's success, might look at the situation and say, 'Hey, I don't want to go to mandatory stuff, either.' Or, he might be tring to send a subtle message about wanting a new contract, and hiding behind 'Adrian Peterson Day' in his hometown to do it. Or, and here's the shocker...he's a guy that feels like he needs to live up to his obligations, and follow through on what he said he'd do. Let's break it down.
Preferential Treatment Theory: Hey, we're all human, and if we see someone getting preferential treatment, it's natural to say if them, why not me? If I had to rank these from high to low on my list, this is at the bottom, though. I'm not claiming any insight into the team, or what makes Adrian Peterson tick, but by all accounts he's one of the most genuine, nicest, and generous people on the team, if not the league. What is particularly galling about this whole deal is that Brad Childress got publicly pissed off at him about not being at minicamp. What?! Chilly created this whole situation by giving preferential treatment for Brett Favre, and not squawking about him not being there.
This is the downside of Favre, in a nutshell. He's a diva, and he likes to do things his own way, and when Chilly drove him to Winter Park from the airport, he ceded any authority to Favre from the word go. The good things is, the VIkes went farther, and won more games, because of Favre. Now, it's time to deal with the diva-ishness. And Chilly, ever the expert on how to 'Win Friends and Influence People', has handled this in the worst possible way. He's abslolutely right to say that 'this is where the work is', and mandatory means you need to be there, but as usual, Chilly has really handled this in the worst possible way. To chide Peterson while saying nothing to Favre (who is still under contract and on the roster) is hypocritical, at best. If I were a player on the team, I'd definitely notice it.
I Want A New Contract Theory: The lifespan of a running back in the NFL last about as long as money in Princess Fergie's account, and maximizing the value of your talent is important for the player. I used to think these guys were selfish, and yeah, to some extent they are, but after I saw a documentary on ex-NFL players, and the health issues they deal with (see Conrad Dobler and Earl Campbell as just two of many examples) I can't begrudge a player for getting as much money as possible while you still can. And with running backs, it's tough to get a rich payday because of the short shelf life of the position. Teams would rather draft a guy and lowball him than give a free agent a pile of money. WIth the uncertain future of the Vikings in Minnesota, and hence the ownership looking to keep costs down in preparation of a possibly sell, I rate this at #2 on the list.
I Just Live Up To My Obligations Theory: I feel that this is probably the most plausible theory. AP probably agreed to attend 'Adrian Peterson Day' awhile back, and didn't look at the calender to de-conflict. By the time he realized the conflict, planning for the event was well underway and would have been difficult to re-arrange. Had it been me, I would've thought, 'hey, if Brett can miss minicamp just because, I can probably miss it for a legitimate reason like this'.
I guess not.