I know this is a Vikings blog, but one of the reasons I'm a big baseball fan as well is because the trade deadline for America's Pastime is generally pretty exciting. There are always a flurry of deals at or near the deadline, as teams decide whether to become buyers or sellers. Big name players get moved from pretenders to contenders as teams gear up for a run at the playoffs, and one trade can trigger a flurry of deals as teams attempt to stay one step ahead of their division rivals.
The NFL trade deadline doesn't generate nearly the buzz baseball's does, for a couple of reasons. In baseball, the game is fairly straightforward--you throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. A player moving from one team to another has to learn the new signs the third base coach is going to flash when he's in the batter's box, but any overarching strategic decisions are made by the manager.
In football, though, it's generally pretty tough for a player to transition from completely different offensive or defensive systems in the middle of the season. That's not to say it hasn't been done, but it can be difficult, so a blockbuster trade for an impact player isn't something that's commonly done, because the impact is generally going to be minimal. The NFL also has the salary cap, which can also make trading marquee guys from one club to another, depending on available cap space for teams wanting to trade for a player.
But, trades aren't out of the realm of possibility. With the Vikings at 2-5, it's pretty safe to say that getting to the post season is a long shot, which would make the Vikings 'sellers'. But do they have any players that might command some type of trade interest? Let's take a look:
Oh, just so there's no misunderstanding here: this is pure speculation on my part. I've heard of no rumors or innuendo about any player getting moved. I'm just looking at potential targets that the Vikings might be able to move, that's all. Also,
Christian Ponder, QB: Ponder was the subject of trade speculation for a good part of the off-season and all the way through training camp. Yeah, that went out the window when both Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, and Ponder was pressed into starting the Thursday night Green Bay game at Lambeau. That was an unmitigated disaster, and whatever trade value he had turned into a bitcoin. it seems the former first round pick will stay on the Vikings as injury insurance, coaches and fans will pray to the memory of Gary Cuozzo that he will play out the season without seeing the field in any meaningful way again, and he will be employed elsewhere next season.
Greg Jennings, WR: Jennings hasn't reached the level of production that a lot of folks thought he would when he signed as a free agent in 2013, but as the quarterback play slowly improves, so to is Jennings. A lot of fans were upset with him over what appeared to be a lack of effort against both Green Bay and Detroit, but he's had more good games than bad with Teddy Bridgewater, and as Bridgewater improves, so will the receiver corps as a whole. And the main impediment to trading Jennings is depth. I'm just not sold on a guy like Adam Thielen, for example, being able to step in and take over.
Chad Greenway, LB: Greenway has been a solid starter for the Vikings since 2006, save his rookie year when he tore his ACL. Although his production in terms of tackles is still high, his level of play has trailed off in recent seasons. With good, young talent underneath him and pushing for playing time, Greenway might be a guy a team looking for linebacking depth could use as they make a playoff push. And with a cap number north of $8 million next year, this could be Greenway's last year anyway, unless he agrees to another contract re-structuring.
Adrian Peterson, RB: Yeah, so we're going to go here. I know there are a lot of people that never want to see Peterson wear purple again, and there a lot of people that want him on the field now. Until Peterson's legal matters are cleared up, it's difficult to see a scenario where anyone would trade for him. He's currently on the Commissioner's Double Not So Secret Probation Pay Him But Don't Play Him List, and he might face further suspension once his legal case is resolved. Assuming the early December trial date doesn't get pushed (and we've already had a couple of motions filed that would do just that), he receives no further suspension from the NFL, and also assuming a quick trial, the best case scenario that gets him on the field is mid-December. That means he could play two or three games, at best, before the end of the season.
And that's with the stars aligning perfectly for him to see the field. So no, I don't see Peterson playing again this year. If that's the case, no, the Vikings aren't going to trade him. Not because they wouldn't be willing to listen, but because no one is calling.
So once again, as the NFL trade deadline approaches, don't expect any big moves. If the Vikings couldn't move an asset like Jared Allen last year, I don't see them making a move this year.