If there was any question in some people's minds whether Adrian Peterson would be a Viking again, it is now unanimous that the running back will return to the team. His agent, Ben Dogra, made that clear in an interview with USA Today.
The owners of the team, the general manager, the coach and everybody connected with the Vikings have insisted from Day 1 after Peterson's suspension that the great running back was under contract and, despite the legal problems he was involved in, he was going to be a Viking because his NFL rights were owned by the club.
Now you have the final chapter in the debate with Dogra, who has been quoted more than once saying that Peterson would not be a Viking, coming out in USA Today praising the Vikings organization and saying that Peterson would wear the purple again.
Dogra has been pushing for a trade, but he said in the interview last week he never expected a team to offer a first-round draftpick, because Peterson is 30 and has 2,054 career carries. And the Vikings have said repeatedly their intent is for Peterson to play for them in 2015.
Dogra struck a very conciliatory chord in USA Today about the future of Peterson, quoted as saying that: "One of the things I appreciate with the Vikings is their resolve to say 'we're not trading him.' That tells me they value him not only as a football player but what he has done for the organization. I actually, as an agent, not only appreciate it — I accept it. But actions speak louder than words. If that's going to happen, and you want to keep him, then show him a commitment to make him retire as a Viking. And I haven't had that solution."
Dogra has certainly had a change of heart.
During much of the offseason, Dogra had told several media outlets that he wanted Peterson out of Minnesota and even got into arguments with Vikings officials in February.
Now the Vikings will have a choice of having Peterson perform under his present contract, which is worth $46 million over the next three years but none of it guaranteed, or more likely sign a new multiyear deal with guaranteed money attached.
Dogra added to USA Today: "My biggest regret would be if I set Adrian in any different light, in a negative manner. My job as a representative is to be his advocate. And I understand that may mean myself taking the bullets and facing scrutiny. I signed up for that job.
"Adrian didn't hire me to fight for me. He hired me to fight for him. And it's not my job to be everybody's best friend. It's my job to do what's right by him, and it's as simple as that."
Dogra, who is now with Relativity Sports, was asked if he believes Peterson will attend the team's first OTA on May 26.
"That's Adrian's decision," Dogra said. "He's a grown man. He's got strong principles. He's endured a lot. It's when he feels that true commitment. Adrian's a very passionate person, very transparent. It's when he feels it's right."
When asked to comment on the USA Today story, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said: "I'm not getting into who called or not called [about a trade for Peterson]. Adrian Peterson is under contract as a Minnesota Viking. End of story."
I have had a great relationship with the Wilf family, owners of the team, especially with Leonard Wilf, who owns a part of the Yankees and was a great friend of the late George Steinbrenner, the Yankees owner. The day the Wilfs bought the Vikings, Steinbrenner put in a good word about my relationship with the team and arranged the first local interview for me with the Wilfs — and they have been available and have never lied to me. So when they told me from the start of Peterson's troubles that the 2012 MVP was going to play for the Vikings, I knew it was true.
The bulk of the local media had him traded, but I believed what the Wilfs told me and I stuck with that theory even though I was being told I was wrong by most of my peers.
Aside from the Peterson interview, USA Today reported that Dogra also has his own problems, saying that Dogra was fired for cause by Creative Artists Agency in November, and the NFL Players Association wants him to appear and answer for a variety of allegations, including that public confrontation with Vikings executive Rob Brzezinski in February.
•During the Twins' current 11-game homestand, heading into Wednesday night's game, center fielder Jordan Schafer has hit .429 with two doubles, seven runs scored and two RBI. Other hot bats during the first nine games: Danny Santana has hit .353 with three doubles, five RBI and one stolen base. Torii Hunter has hit .314 with two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored. Brian Dozier is at .333 with nine RBI and six runs scored. And maybe the hottest of all is Trevor Plouffe, who is hitting .324 with three home runs, 11 RBI and five runs scored.
•The Twins were seventh in the American League in batting average and fifth in runs scored last year; to date, they are ninth in runs and fifth in average at .257. … While the Twins have shown improvement in the standings over the past month, their odds in Las Vegas for winning the World Series remain static. They were 100-to-1 long shots on April 1, and the odds remain at 100-to-1. They also remain dead last in odds to win the AL Central at 20-to-1, despite being in third place and four games up on Cleveland.
•Also in Vegas, the Vikings were sitting at 50-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl after they completed the draft, tied for 22nd with teams like Houston, San Diego and Chicago, but all Super Bowl odds are currently off the board in Vegas until oddsmakers learn of Tom Brady's status for this season following the release of the NFL's Wells Report regrading deflation of footballs on Wednesday.
•Former Gopher and Stillwater native Ben Blankenship continues to dominate in track. Blankenship anchored Team USA's distance medley relay at the IAAF/BTC World Relays in the Bahamas and helped it set a world record of 9 minutes, 15.5 seconds. Blankenship ran the longest stretch at 1,600 meters. The record was previously held by Kenya and had stood for nine years. Blankenship overcame a 20-meter lead by Kenya's Timothy Cheriuyot and passed him on the final turn. "I knew if I just kept my nose down and kept grinding there would be a chance to recuperate and come up with the win," Blankenship said.
•Former Gopher Gabe Guertler had four goals and five assists for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who lost to Erie and future top NHL first-round pick Connor McDavid in the OHL playoffs.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com