By Michael Burke
The NFL Offseason is always a chess match. Agents for the players make salary demands, issue threats, and even try to drum up “luke warm” interest from other clubs. Teams try and keep their salary cap manageable, making lowball offers and negotiating until the terms are right. Players over value themselves, teams over estimate some players. In 32 NFL cities the chess match rules all.
The race before the RACE
You really saw that this year when Free Agency had a three day negotiating window before it actually launched. The action was so fast and furious that people wore out the F5 buttons on their keyboards refreshing their Twitter feeds to get the latest coming and going. Football proved once again that it is king of the American sports scene. No other sport even comes close. In a time of year when the NBA and the NHL are in the start of their playoff runs, and MLB is starting Spring Training in Arizona and Florida it is the NFL that blew up Twitter and dominated the news on Sportscenter. Only the NFL can have two events at the top of the interest list. I am talking of course about the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft, which may be the two biggest events in professional sports In America.
Well, this year anyway the artificial and official starts to NFL Free Agency came pretty close to making it a hat trick at the top. Where was DeMarco Murray going to land? Who was going to get Ndamukong Suh? Who got traded? Who retired? Why is my head spinning as I try to process all of this information? I have never seen a feeding frenzy quite like it in my life. Well, the frenzy may be over but the jockeying for position and posturing has really just begun.
Where will A.D. land?
One such story is concerning the final landing spot for Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson. In my not so humble opinion there is really only one location that makes sense and that is in the backfield for America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. There are some who will read that and immediately say that the Dallas Cowboys have already announced that they are not joining the Adrian Peterson sweepstakes. I agree with that statement, they are not going to join any auction for his services. If the Vikings put Peterson on the trading block as has been quietly reported at the NFL Owner’s Meetings last week in Phoenix, the Cowboys will not get in on the bidding. They’re not going to trade for him.
At least not right now. If they were going to do it, it would happen on Draft Day, possibly when they are on the clock, and it probably wouldn’t be for a high Draft pick. That is if they would trade at all. If I were in charge, and regretfully I am not, I would not trade anything for Adrian Peterson. The reason is simple, there is no need to. The pressure here is not on the Dallas Cowboys. They have no need at all to make a deal for him. Acquiring him via trade would mean accepting his current salary or needing to negotiate a new one (likely the latter). In an offseason where Dallas is showing incredible patience and restraint, it wouldn’t make sense for them to reverse field and break the bank. Not for, as Jerry Jones put it, “A position where the players tend to get hurt the most.”
“Trade? We don’t need no stinkin’ trade!”
We’ve also heard that the Vikings are not going to trade him, and let’s be honest, they certainly do not have to. They are under the cap by a lot, even with keeping him. I don’t think they are going to trade him either, and not because of the Salary Cap. I don’t believe any team would make an offer for him. This is a Draft that has way too much incoming rookie talent for any team to make a huge trade for a RB who just turned 30. Why do that when you can draft a kid in his early 20’s instead, and have him for 7 or 8 years instead of 3 or 4? So the Vikings can dangle the NFL’s best RB on the market all they want, but there isn’t likely to be a buyer’s market for the highest paid player at that position in the entire NFL. You don’t win the cap wars by being irresponsible.
Clear the decks…of distractions
So, why would the Vikings want to get rid of him at all? I believe that he is going to be a distraction that they do not need as they have a still “new Head Coach” in Mike Zimmer. Adrian Peterson is not going to show up for off season workouts. The media is going to ask the question every single day of when he will be there. Pressure is going to mount. He’s not going to show up for OTAs or mini camps most likely and even if there is a mandatory camp that he has to show up for I don’t think he will participate due to an undisclosed injury. I don’t think he’ll show up for Training Camp and preseason until he absolutely has to. This is going to add pressure to the Vikings and be a distraction that I don’t think they need.
To be continued.