Maybe I’m getting desensitized to the idea of drama surrounding the Minnesota Vikings.
You know, like how your favorite television series can begin to feel quite stale and repetitive after six or seven seasons? I’m not claiming to have all the answers, and I’m not saying I can’t get swept up in it, but after six years of writing about the Vikings I’m finding myself far less susceptible to being surprised than I once was.
I’ve fielded a lot of questions over the last couple of days regarding the Adrian Peterson situation. Each conversation ends with me being asked where I think he will end up, and it is obviously not one I can answer with a guarantee, but here are some of my thoughts on the “events” of this last week:
The least shocking news all week were the mini-waves of devotion various Vikings members were touting towards Peterson, which was highlighted by Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. What else are they going to do?
Releasing Peterson was never a viable option, and talking him up potentially makes him a happier camper upon return or increases his trade market and value. They would be idiots if they came out and said anything else other than what they said this week. Therefore, the fact that they said what we knew they would say doesn’t actually mean much of anything, other than that we are getting farther along in this whole process.
First off, let me say that I don’t think this is Peterson “playing the victim card.” Peterson has never been one to pick the exact right words at the right time, and I think the context of his statements are always important, because he tends to ramble from one thought to the next in a manner that leaves plenty up to interpretation.
Peterson sounds like he is beat down a bit. He sounds like he is, possibly for the first time in his career, learning just how important the business side of the NFL life is. Just how necessary that evil really, truly is.
He sounds like a guy that is being pretty open about being “uneasy” about going back to work at a place that has been in turmoil because of him and because of how they handled his situation. I can honestly say I would be more than “uneasy” about returning to my place of work under similar circumstances, so I can hardly hold anything he said against him. I’m guessing that he was just trying to vent his feelings on that one and I fail to see where those feelings cross any sort of line.
More than anything, however, I see a guy that knows he isn’t going to be released. I see a guy that knows his next contract signed will not be as lucrative as his current one. I see a guy that is not necessarily trying to talk his way out of town, but instead is trying to make any approach from the Vikings (or another team) extremely awkward if they intend to ask him to shave his salary.
Peterson has millions of reasons to do everything within his power to remain employed under his current contract, and making the Vikings feel like they hurt his feelings might be a perfect way to avoid the negotiating room.
Some media outlets are running with a Jason Cole report on Bleacher Report like Peterson and Rick Spielman sat down, scowled at each other silently, and then Peterson suddenly demanded a trade to Dallas before stomping out of the room.
Obviously, that’s not how it happened, mainly because it didn’t happen at all. Cole never explicitly said Peterson made a trade demand, no matter what other outlets would like you to believe, but instead noted that all parties “are aware” of what the other wants.
A meeting between Peterson and Spielman would seemingly be prohibited under his current suspension. Furthermore, the idea of Peterson wanting to play in Dallas is nothing new or even earth-shattering. He made similar comments before the 2014 regular season even started, and long before he might have felt let down by the organization’s response to his troubles.
This is all just the back-and-forth posturing that was every bit as predictable as it is inevitable given the seriousness and financial ramifications of the entire situation. Think of it as the final hand of a very high stakes poker game where everyone must dramatically reveal their hands in slow motion… you know the cards need to be played, we’re just waiting to find out who wins.
So, back to the question everyone keeps asking… “Where will Peterson end up?”
I’m not sure, but I gave an early and slight edge to the Vikings and none of the cards on the table are surprising enough to make me change that bet, yet.
The Vikings still need to get the best value they can out of Peterson, by getting him on the field or by trading him away, and Peterson will do his best to make sure he’s making as much money as possible as his twilight years are suddenly upon him.