The waiting for someone to blink officially begins today.
As Vikings start gathering for the start of the offseason workout program, Adrian Peterson is expected to pass up attending.
The Vikings have maintained all along that they want Peterson to return to the team, but, then again, what are they supposed to say? We have no intention of keeping him? The last time a coach gaffed that bad was Denny Green when he took over and made it clear in a public setting that he was cleaning house of disgruntled old veterans and made no bones that Herschel Walker was one of those guys.
Imagine Green’s shock when the Vikings started making calls to other teams to field trade offers and were not only rebuffed, but laugh at – admonished by phrases like, “We’ll just wait until you cut him and see what it costs then.”
The Vikings continue to the toe the company line of love and remembrance, whether it is genuine or not. Agent Ben Dogra has barked that his client would be better off without the Vikings.
As usual, Peterson isn’t letting his feelings be known.
But somewhere in the mix, word surfaced from ESPN’s Adam Caplan that the Vikings aren’t just looking for a first-round draft pick, they’re looking for a starting cornerback as well.
Nothing like bluffing by throwing a bunch of chips into the middle of the pot.
The reality of the situation is that, while Peterson’s talent will result in a final landing spot in Canton five years after his career ends, he is a 30-year-old running back at a time when the market is low for running backs. Trading a couple of first-rounders for a 21-year-old rookie phenom is one thing. For veterans with high miles on the physical odometer? Not so much.
If the Vikings can get a decent second-round pick for Peterson on draft weekend, that might be a victory. If he doesn’t want to come back or will have to do so under duress, what’s the point in keeping him?
The problem that comes in with that sort of compensation is that the three teams that continue to be rumored as interested – Dallas, Arizona and Oakland – have particular problems with that. Dallas isn’t going to give up Orlando Scandrick. Arizona isn’t going to throw in a talented Patrick Peterson to obtain a talented Adrian Peterson in a trade.
For both teams, it’s counterproductive.
The only code-breaking scenario that makes sense is that either Rick Spielman or Mike Zimmer believes that D.J. Hayden of the Raiders, a first-round borderline bust from 2013, could thrive in this particular defense – the Vikings likely would begrudgingly accept Hayden and the third pick of the second round as compensation for sending Peterson out of the conference where his revenge plays would be limited.
In the end, most Vikings fans understand that, in the business of football, having a purple No. 28 trotting out on the field is good for business. Many of Peterson’s harshest detractors likely couldn’t correctly answer the follow-up question of what number Peterson wears. In the business of the NFL, Peterson is a megastar. But what are 30-year-old megastars worth in trade?
For those who believe A.P. will be running out of the tunnel at TCF Bank Stadium for the first time in September, the point will be moot.
For those who don’t, get your popcorn ready and be prepared to lower your expectations in the draft world of gun-to-the-head trade diplomacy.
Holler: What’s the market for Peterson?
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