Over the weekend, Bleacher Report surfaced a video suggesting Adrian Peterson — according to an anonymous, high-ranking NFL official — wants to be traded from the Vikings to the Cowboys.
That report came not too long after an ESPN story in which Peterson said he was “uneasy” about rejoining the Vikings.
On Monday, there was this beauty: Peterson’s agent and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski reportedly had a heated exchange at the NFL Combine, during which the agent (Ben Dogra) reportedly said Peterson would never play for the Vikings again.
So what’s really going on here?
Well, the short answer is this: leverage is power, and for a long time Peterson has had neither. He’s in a limbo state, a no-man’s-land, as he waits for the NFL to reinstate him and presumably waits for the Vikings to decide what they want to do with him.
When you’re a superstar, you’re not used to being without leverage. So Peterson is trying to create some, first by suggesting not everything is square between he and the Vikings (thus attempting to make the decision about bringing Peterson back not just a matter of Minnesota’s preference) and then by planting a story about a possible trade (this was probably Peterson’s reps, but it’s all part of the same puzzle in trying to make it seem like a man with few options has more). The Combine story is just icing on the cake.
The Vikings still have more leverage — Peterson is under contract, and if he wants to get paid in 2015 ultimately the Vikings control his fate — but the earlier AP starts painting a picture that he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota (true or not), the less it seems like the Vikings are really in control.
The Vikings will counter by denying everything while — probably — quietly exploring options to see if they can trade Peterson for acceptable value. Our guess is the Vikings aren’t 100 percent sold on wanting Peterson back, and knowing he’s not sold either will make it easier to part ways.
But the Vikings can’t say all that because they want to preserve Peterson’s trade value — again, that pesky leverage, which is what the power business of the NFL is all about.
The upshot of these reports is this: whereas we were once starting to become convinced Peterson would be back with the Vikings in 2015, now we are not nearly as sure.