The Vikings recently came out and said that they have no intentions of releasing Adrian Peterson, and it appears that same stance applies to a possible trade of a running back. As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press details, head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters today that the team has “no plans to trade Adrian.” According to the Vikes coach, there haven’t even been any discussions with other teams about a deal (Twitter link via Ed Werder of ESPN.com).
Although Zimmer doesn’t want the star running back to be unhappy, he notes that Peterson is under contract for three more years with the team, and told reporters – including Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com (Twitter link) – that he never once said he would “accommodate” the 30-year-old if that means assenting to a trade request.
Asked about a potential next step for Peterson, Zimmer acknowledged that the back will have to officially come off the exempt list following his suspension. “[Besides that], I don’t know that there is a next step,” Zimmer said, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). “We’re good to go.”
Zimmer’s comments may be a bargaining tool, intended to either encourage Peterson to keep an open mind about a return to Minnesota, or to help improve the club’s position if trade talks do occur. Still, the Vikings’ stance shows that the team has most of the leverage over Peterson at this point — after paying him for not playing last year, the Vikes are willing to pay him again this year at a rate that’s very fair, if not generous, for a 30-year-old running back ($12.75MM base salary for 2015).
According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), Peterson’s current unease is about money as much as it’s about a lack of trust with the Vikings. Cole indicates that, whether or not Peterson changes teams, the former MVP wants either a raise or a portion of his salary guaranteed for additional security. Presumably, as he enters his 30s, Peterson recognizes that this could be his last chance at a significant payday. But I’d be surprised if there are other teams willing to guarantee him significantly more money than the $12.75MM Minnesota is prepared to pay him for the 2015 season.
The Cowboys, Cardinals, and Colts are among the most frequently cited potential trade partners for the Vikings, in the event that Minnesota does eventually put Peterson on the block.