If Adrian Peterson’s fragile relationship with the Minnesota Vikings wasn’t already irreparably fractured, it most certainly is now. According to a report, the former All-Pro running back’s agent and a team official engaged in a heated verbal argument at the NFL combine during which the former claimed his client won’t ever play for Minnesota again.
Here’s Jason LaConfora of CBS Sports:
The decaying relationship between Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson and the organization took a dramatic turn during the combine last week in downtown Indianapolis: Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, had to be separated from a member of Minnesota’s front office during a heated verbal altercation about the former Pro Bowler, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation.
According to the sources, Dogra engaged in a heated exchange with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski during which the agent made it clear that Peterson would never play there again. The incident took place during a time when outside parties were in the vicinity. Finally, former Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik intervened, separating the men and diffusing the escalating tension, sources said.
LaConfora also quotes another source who claims the Vikings’ handling of Peterson’s child abuse case caused him to forever lose faith in the organization.
“He will never play another game for the Vikings,” said one person close to the player. “It’s over.”
The 29 year-old Peterson has three years and $44.25 million remaining on his contract. Though the 2008 MVP remains a wildly talented player, his deteriorating public image combined with his age and mammoth salary make him a less than optimum trade target. What appears most likely is that Minnesota simply releases him to most easily shed approximately $13 million off its salary cap.
Peterson was deactivated for the Vikings’ week 2 game of the 2014 season after being indicted on child abuse charges September 12. Though initially reinstated by the club shortly thereafter, Minnesota reneged on that decision September 17 by placing him on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list after further discussion with the league office. Just over two months later, the NFL suspended him for the season’s remainder without pay.
A case against that discipline by Peterson and the NFL Players’ Association went to federal court on February 6. He won’t be reinstated to the league before April 15 at the earliest unless a judge levees a decision in his favor.
If A.D. manages to find his way back to the field for 2015, he almost certainly won’t be wearing Vikings purple. And while every team with a backfield vacancy would be interested in adding a player of his ability alone, the modern NFL isn’t played in a vacuum. Public perception matters more than ever now, and the media frenzy that would inevitably accompany Peterson’s acquisition makes him a less appealing addition than his talent suggests.
Stay tuned. This story is still just beginning.