It is extremely difficult to evaluate the Adrian Peterson situation in a vacuum where human emotions do not exist, but that is exactly what the Wilf Family and Rick Spielman will have to do in the near future.
I honestly believe that there are people within the Vikings organization that care for Adrian Peterson and regard him as much more as a football player. I know that people I have worked with for a significant period of time often become more than just someone that uses the same letterhead as me, and I can’t imagine Peterson’s time at Winter Park has been anything different for many employees of the Minnesota Vikings.
I have speculated in the past that this very emotional human reaction played a role in the team’s initial decision to play Peterson after these allegations became public, but eventually the business side of the NFL trumped all else and the organization and the NFL did an about face. Public outcry, coupled with sponsorships pulling their names, meant the Vikings had to send the NFL’s best running back to his couch for eight weeks.
The Wilf’s are business men, however, and never once did I expect them to release Peterson from his lucrative contract. In the beginning of September, he was their single most valuable human resource, and you don’t get as rich as Zygi Wilf by selling stocks when they are at their lowest. I expect the Vikings to employ this same basic principle of business in the coming weeks as they are forced to make a decision regarding Peterson’s status with the organization.
Translation: I think Peterson will be on the field as soon as the NFL will allow it.
It is tough to pay a guy that much money without getting anything in return. It is nearly impossible to trade a player in the offseason if you aren’t even willing to play him yourself. It is quite difficult to recover the trade value that has been lost without letting Peterson take some handoffs and show the 31 other teams why he is still more than just a troubled running back.
Nothing makes any amount of business sense, at least from where I am sitting, other than getting Peterson back in pads as soon as possible.
I still think there are human elements at play here, but I fully expect the investment gurus within the Wilf Family to aggressively attempt to recover Peterson’s stock value, and I don’t think that will be motivated by anything other than a desire to increase the perceived value of employee number 28.