NASHVILLE – Vikings running back Adrian Peterson downplayed a report that said he called Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and told him he would like to play for the Cowboys in the future.
“This was a casual conversation between NFL colleagues in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings,” Peterson said in a statement released by the team Thursday afternoon, hours before their fourth preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. “I have always said I understand the NFL is a business but that I would love to retire as a Viking.”
According to an ESPN report, Peterson and Jones spoke on the phone in June. The reporter only heard one side of the conversation, and that was what Jones said to Peterson.
“Well, I understand, Adrian,” Jones reportedly said. “I’d like that, too … Well, I love your story. I love your daddy’s story. I’ve always respected what you’ve been about. I’ve always been a fan of yours.”
In the report, the ESPN reporter wrote, “Listening to half the conversation, it is obvious Peterson is telling Jones he wants to play for the Cowboys.” At no point did the reporter state that he actually heard Peterson say that he would like to play for the Cowboys or encourage Jones to make a trade.
But the report stated that Jones confirmed that Peterson told him that he wanted to play for Dallas.
Peterson grew up in Texas and has said multiple times that he was a Cowboys fan as a child.
The report came two days after Peterson told the Star Tribune he wanted to retire with the Vikings.
“They selected me, and things have been pretty good so far. We haven’t won a championship, but I don’t think they regret the pick,” Peterson told Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan. “I know it’s a business. On the personal side, my goal is to finish my career as a Minnesota Viking. I would like to finish my career having played for just one team. Not many people get to do that. That would be special.”
The Cowboys could be in violation of the NFL’s tampering rules if they did not report the phone call to the Vikings. If they were, the Cowboys would be subject to a fine or the forfeiture of draft picks.
The Vikings did not say whether they planned to push the NFL to pursue tampering charges.
Teddy goes gloveless
After ditching his now-famous gloves during an underwhelming predraft pro day at Louisville, Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater vowed to never again leave the sideline without his gloves.
But during a rainy night at LP Field, Bridgewater, who goes through four pairs of gloves per game, walked to the huddle with bare hands. He later explained that he usually won’t wear them in the rain.
“I have a history that whenever it rains I just take the gloves off,” he said. “It was one of those days. Still, I think I was able to execute at a high level.”
Banyard makes mark
Second-year running back Joe Banyard, who is battling for a roster spot, made a strong argument for the Vikings to keep him as their fourth back behind Peterson, Matt Asiata and Jerick Mc-Kinnon.
Banyard rushed for 111 yards on 18 carries.
“At the end of the day, I was just trying to do what’s best for this team,” he said. “If the opportunity was presenting itself, I was trying to capitalize on that.”
Wide receiver Adam Thielen injured his right hip while making a catch for a first down late in the first half. He sprinted on the sideline and made a few cuts during the two-minute warning but did not return.
Fullback Zach Line (ankle), defensive end Justin Trattou (shoulder) and safety Antone Exum (undisclosed) also left the game because of injuries, but Zimmer indicated that Exum could have returned to the game.