Now that DeMarco Murray has decided to trade in his Cowboys stars for Eagles wings, many Vikings fans — and some NFL talking heads, too — are connecting the dots between the Cowboys and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who may or may not want to go play in Dallas.
For that to happen, though, the Vikings have to be ready to part ways with Peterson. And as I wrote a couple of days ago, they are still trying to talk Peterson into suiting up for them this season.
As of now, there are no more meetings scheduled. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be.
Peterson has said he feels “uneasy” about coming back to Minnesota, partly because he thought the Vikings didn’t have his back when he got put on the commissioner’s exempt list in September.
He also was unhappy that Gov. Mark Dayton said he should be suspended. He is not pleased with this newspaper for writing this article in October. And he no doubt has glanced at his mentions on Twitter and seen all the negative comments directed at him by a sector of the fan base. I’m told by a source who knows him pretty well that all of those things have weighed on his mind.
And with Peterson set to make $12.75 million in salary in 2015, money is the elephant in the room. But the Vikings have not asked him to take a pay cut and might not at any point this offseason.
Now next offseason…? Well, let’s just get through this one first.
Right now, the team has all the leverage if Peterson is angling for a trade or a new contract with more guaranteed money. If he does end up refusing to wear Vikings horns this fall, they could dig their heels in and say, “OK, you either play for us or no one at all.” Or maybe they eventually wave a white flag and just end this saga by trading him away, scoring draft picks in the process.
If that happens, they shouldn’t expect to get much for a running back who turns 30 next weekend, has had three surgeries the past few years, and has a big contract and now off-the-field baggage.
Now maybe Jerry Jones, sans Murray, will be enamored enough with Peterson to offer a high draft pick for him. But even Jones has been responsible and, well, kind of boring the past couple of years.
But remember, the Vikings have to want to trade Peterson for all these swirling trade rumors to be relevant. And right now, based on what I’ve heard, it doesn’t seem like they want to do that.