A report last night indicated that Adrian Peterson won’t report to the start of the Vikings’ organized team activities, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports indicates that the running back isn’t expected to show up to any part of the club’s spring program. A “longtime Peterson confidant” tells Robinson that Peterson hasn’t yet made a decision about sitting out of Minnesota’s mandatory minicamp in June or training camp in late July.
Robinson’s source suggests that Peterson is sending a message to the team with his absence, conveying to the Vikings that he still wants to be traded. According to Robinson, the former MVP hasn’t wavered privately about his desire to play for a team besides the Vikings, and has made the front office aware of that stance.
If Peterson remains that insistent on being traded, it comes as a bit of a surprise, since recent reports indicated that agent Ben Dogra had given up on the idea of a deal, and had instead shifted his focus to reworking his client’s contract with the Vikes to secure more guaranteed money. Robinson’s source, however, says that it has “never been about the money” for Peterson, and that it has evolved into a personal issue between him and the team.
Speaking of money, missing the Vikings’ OTAs would cost Peterson his $250K workout bonus, and if he decides to skip the team’s mandatory June minicamp as well, the team could fine him another $73K. While $323K certainly isn’t pocket change, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the 30-year-old will earn if he plays out the 2015 season, since he’s in line for a $12.75MM base salary. If his holdout extended into the preseason and the regular season, Peterson could forfeit more than $15MM, between his salary and recoupable bonuses.
Since most teams now have a pretty good idea of what their rosters will look like for the 2015 season, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings finding a suitable offer for Peterson this late in the offseason, particularly if they didn’t receive any proposals they liked prior to the draft. Ben Goessling of ESPN.com points out (via Twitter) that the Vikings have been adamant all along that they don’t want to trade Peterson, and it’s hard to imagine them changing their minds now.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Peterson doesn’t have a ton of leverage, and if his camp attempts to paint him as the victim, it’s hard to see them garnering much sympathy. After all, Peterson’s primary gripe with the Vikings seems to be that the team didn’t sufficiently support him publicly when he faced child abuse charges — yet the club has still been vocal about wanting to bring him back, and continues to pay him the highest salary of any NFL running back.