The latest development concerns a proposed meeting Vikings general manager Rick Spielman tried to make with Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, as first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Spielman reportedly wanted to have dinner with Dogra at the NFL Annual Meetings, which will run Sunday through Wednesday in Phoenix. Apparently Dogra turned him down flat, continuing to raise the speculation that the Vikings and Peterson are ending their relationship at some point soon.
According to the story, one of the reasons is that the Peterson camp is upset with the promotion of Kevin Warren from general counsel to Chief Operating Officer of the Vikings.
Back in November, word got out that Warren was the lone dissenting voice (or at least the only vocal dissenting voice) when internal discussions of what to do with Peterson came up after he came off the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which most thought would be once his legal case in Texas was adjudicated.
Dogra and Peterson have been said to be convinced that Warren conspired with the NFL to get Peterson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and did nothing to fight for Peterson to return to active service when he was subsequently slapped with a six-game suspension. After a court ruled that the NFL violated its power in the Peterson matter with the NFL Players Association filing the suit on his behalf, he was returned to the Commissioner’s Exempt List.
Making the problem more significant in the eyes of Peterson and Dogra was the promotion of Warren, giving him more power within the organization and potentially more power to have a larger say in what happens with Peterson’s standing with the team.
The timing of the meeting was no coincidence. The Vikings told Peterson this week they have no intention of cutting him and are willing to have him play under his current contract. If the Vikings are looking to trade Peterson and simply putting out a united front to mask their intention to trade A.P., the NFL annual meetings are an ideal place to get the framework of a potential trade in place.
While Peterson’s anger with Warren and others in the organization who didn’t champion his cause to get him reinstated or removed from the exempt list is understandable, Dogra’s hardline position make little sense. The job of an agent is to aggressively promote his client and try to get as much money as possible for his client’s services, whether he has personal issues with members of an organization or not. It’s unlikely that Peterson will receive a contract that will pay him more than the $12.75 million he is scheduled to make with the Vikings this season.
It would seem to be in Peterson’s best financial interests for his agent and Spielman to sit down together and have one-on-one discussions where they could attempt to resolve what remaining issues are still in play for either side. Simply refusing to meet doesn’t place Dogra in a good light and it has led some to contend that he is doing his client a disservice by not at least hearing the Vikings out and, if needed, express to Spielman in no uncertain terms whether or not Peterson wants to come back to the Vikings or will be traded.
There have been teams mentioned in the discussion of being interested in trading for Peterson, including Arizona, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington and Jacksonville all being thrown out as possibilities. While most don’t believe the Vikings can land a first-round pick for Peterson given his salary, it’s clear that, if he was to become available, there would be a strong market of teams looking to add him.
About the only thing that is certain is that, until Peterson shows up in uniform in Mankato, there are going to be persistent rumors as to where Peterson will end up … due in no small part to his agent’s refusal to break bread with the Vikings before they break ties.