The Minnesota Vikings were once rumored to have Adrian Peterson on the trading block, but in a definitive statement, the team has now quashed the reports and issued an ultimatum to the troubled running back.
There have been problems between Peterson and the team, dating back to his arrest for child abuse. Peterson was reportedly upset at what he believed was the team’s lack of support during his trial and league suspension, and those hard feelings carried over into the offseason.
As the relationship between Peterson and the Vikings deteriorated, reports emerged that he could be on the trading block, with the Dallas Cowboys appearing to be a likely partner.
But on Wednesday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer put a hard stop to the rumors, saying Adrian Peterson has no other option but to play for Minnesota.
“He’s really got two choices: He can play for us. Or he cannot play,” Zimmer told reporters at offseason workouts.
Peterson hasn’t reported to the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, and Zimmer said he had no idea when he might show up.
As NFL.com noted, the team may be hoping that the hard stance brings Adrian Peterson back to the team.
“At this point, it seems more important for the Vikings to hold their position than anything. Although Peterson can ultimately retire, it’s hard to imagine the game’s best running back walking away at 30, and with more than $40 million on the table.
That’s what the Vikings are hoping, anyway. Adding him into the mix with budding star Teddy Bridgewater would instantly propel Minnesota into the potential playoff contender category.”
Even Dallas media is now down on the possibilities of Adrian Peterson leaving Minnesota. David Moore of the Dallas News noted that Peterson is unlikely to take the Kyle Orton route of threatening retirement in order to gain a release from his team and then signing with a new team.
“Retirement gives Peterson no leverage. He can’t retire to simply break his contract then return to play for another team. I’m not sure what’s happening in Minnesota at the moment equals an end-game for Peterson to wind up in Dallas. I had always maintained it was possible — not probable — that the Cowboys would pursue Peterson, but that was tied into the draft. Now that the draft has passed, I don’t see it happening.”
But the Minnesota Vikings have other motives for ending the trade rumors. The sooner Peterson gets to camp, the longer he and the second-year Teddy Bridgewater will have to work on improving an offense that ranked No. 27 overall last season.
[Image via Getty Images / Elsa]