If a man’s ears do indeed burn when someone not present is talking about him, then Adrian Peterson’s agent probably spent the past hour with his head in a bucket of ice water.
ESPN analyst Bill Polian, the newly-elected Pro Football Hall of Famer and former NFL general manager, just conducted a conference call with reporters. I climbed aboard the runaway NFL draft hype train and asked Polian the following question:
“In a trade scenario, what would you consider Adrian Peterson’s value in terms of draft picks, and would you trade for him on draft night if you hadn’t talked to him or had him take a physical beforehand?”
Polian laughed because apparently he has spent a lot of time barking about this situation and the actions of Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, who hasn’t exactly been Mr. Subtle in expressing how much better off Peterson would be somewhere other than Minnesota, which, by the way, has him under contract for three more years, including a $12.5 million agreement for this season.
“I’ve had a lot to say on this subject on [ESPN's NFL] Insiders,” he said. “Let’s take away the hypotheticals for a moment and say the following: Despite anything his agent may say to the contrary or his, quote, people, whoever they may be or say to the contrary, the following are the facts. He has a valid contract, a multi-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings. And if the Minnesota Vikings decide that they want him to play football for them, he will play football for them or play football for no one.
“So I think that is a fact. It’s very clear-cut. It’s black and white, despite any protestations to the contrary. Secondly, if you were to be interested in trading for him, that means that the Vikings control the ability to move him. No one else. So there is no third party interaction here. This is a question of whether or not the Vikings want to trade Adrian Peterson to someone else. So I think those two sets of facts have been lost in all of the noise that surrounds this situation almost since last January.
“The third part of the equation is where does he stand with the league? I presume that question will be answered at some point in the foreseeable future. But it has not been answered yet. And that certainly affects any potential trade. I hasten to add that if the Vikings would be willing to entertain one — and they have said just the opposite, at least from where I can tell recently — trying to determine what’s fair compensation for him in a trade assumes that the Vikings would be willing to enter into such a transaction. Not that someone else decides that it should take place.
“So compensation is [Vikings General Manager] Rick Spielman’s call, and I’m not going to farm his land. The fact of the matter is that he has a very, very fair contract, in my opinion, from his perspective. He’s the highest-paid back in the league, I believe. And he has a multi-year contract. So he would be ostensibly available for three more years if any team ever trades for him. To me, that mitigates whatever his age is. He’s also had a year off, which is probably for a running back a good thing. So the extent that his age is a factor if you were going to move him, I don’t think it is a factor because he’s under club control for the next three years.
“Could you make a trade for anybody on the clock? Of course you can. But the question of whether or not that player will report is another issue. And that’s unknowable at this time. I would be, as a general manager, I would be very wary given what’s gone on up to this point that he would report and honor that contract. I would have concerns about that if I were trying to make a trade.”