I'm going to kick this story off with the latest from Yahoo! Sports football insider Charles Robinson, who has been relatively plugged in to the whole Adrian Peterson situation to this point.
Now, I'm not sure who Robinson's source is on this whole thing. There were reports from the St. Paul Pioneer Press earlier in the week that the team had another visit scheduled with Peterson for later on this week. . .a report that was later shot down. Between the trade for wide receiver Mike Wallace and the meeting with defensive end Michael Johnson yesterday, along with today's release of wide receiver Greg Jennings, it appears that the Vikings' brass has determined that it has better things to do.
The thing is that Peterson's market appears to be drying up a bit. Peterson's (reported) favored destination is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys let 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray leave for their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, because they didn't want to match the Eagles' price of a little over $8 million a year. They also signed running back Darren McFadden the other day and, per Robinson, are not going to be part of the bidding for Peterson if he does go on the trade block.
There are some other teams out there that could be destinations, including the aforementioned Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who we reported were going to make an aggressive play for Peterson. But, as the folks over at The Viking Age pointed out the other day. . .
The phrase "Vikings focused on keeping Peterson" is amusing. To keep him all they have to do is...nothing.— The Viking Age (@TheVikingAge) March 13, 2015
Now, I understand that the Peterson backers out there aren't going to like the sound of that very much, but it's really kind of true. As the General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings, the appeasement of Adrian Peterson is not a part of Rick Spielman's job description. . .and if you did a full listing of Rick Spielman's duties, "making sure that Adrian Peterson is happy" probably wouldn't appear anywhere in the top 50. Or top 100.
In the grand scheme of things, Adrian Peterson and his agent and his father and all of his hangers-on have absolutely zero power in this situation. Sure, the Vikings can try to get something done and move him to another team and get something in return if they feel like it, but the reality of the situation is that any time he wants, Spielman can sit down with Peterson or call him or whatever and say the following:
"You are under contract to the Minnesota Vikings. You are going to play for the Minnesota Vikings under the terms that are stipulated in the official Minnesota Vikings contract that both you and your agent signed off on, or we will do what we did for fifteen out of sixteen games last season and simply go it without you and you can just sit there and continue getting older. See you in Mankato if you'd like to continue receiving paychecks from the Minnesota Vikings."
And if Spielman were to do that, there wouldn't be anything that anybody could do about it. Contracts are funny that way.
Since the season ended, the entire Minnesota Vikings' organization. . .from Zygi and Mark Wilf to Rick Spielman to Mike Zimmer and pretty much every player that's been approached on the matter. . .has publicly expressed the sentiment that they want to see Adrian Peterson come back. But, for whatever reason, Peterson apparently isn't "comfortable" with the situation in Minnesota. To that, the best way I can put it is the following:
Sometimes. . .just sometimes. . .it isn't everybody else that's the problem. Sometimes it's you. And maybe now is one of those times.
I've wanted Adrian Peterson to be reinstated. . .not automatically brought back to the team, contrary to what some have erroneously presumed. . .so that the team could resolve this situation. And, at this point, getting this situation resolved is the most important thing in this team's off-season. If it turns out that Adrian Peterson stays in Minnesota, then fine. I'm not going to waste time or keystrokes on this website gushing about how wonderful the guy is and will probably be less-than-complimentary about him, but if the team decides he still has value, then fine. If he gets cut or traded, also fine. Seriously, at this time last year we were talking about Adrian Peterson potentially not being a part of this team in 2015 or having to re-do his contract. What's transpired since then certainly shouldn't be an argument against that.
But, regardless of the outcome of this whole thing, the Minnesota Vikings and the overwhelming majority of their fans will find a way to keep going, just like after the Randy Moss trade and just like after every time this team has managed to kick their fans in the teeth or punch them in the gut. And it's those people. . .the fans of the Minnesota Vikings. . .that deserve the quickest resolution of this matter possible.