Peterson trade speculation overlooks one key factor

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Plenty of chatter has arisen in recent days regarding the question of whether the Vikings ever would trade running back Adrian Peterson.

From the standpoint of constructing a balanced team at a time when the salary cap is only creeping up each year, the possibility of unloading annual eight-figure cap numbers has some basic appeal.  At $11.25 million this year, $11.75 million in 2014, $12.75 million in 2015, $14.75 million in 2016, and $16.75 million in 2017, that’s a huge commitment to a man who is approaching the witching hour for running backs — his 30th birthday.

With a modest cap charge in the short term (only $2.4 million tied to 2014 and $2.4 million for 2015), dumping the contract would create a major cap benefit.

But any trade, nearly a quarter century after the Herschel Walker deal, would yield peanuts in comparison to the package the Vikings sent to Dallas on October 12, 1989.  Besides, any team acquiring Peterson would need the cap space to absorb a contract that pays Peterson like a franchise quarterback — and the willingness to pay that much money to a (gracefully) aging tailback.  Also, Vikings fans wouldn’t be happy about losing one of the most beloved figures in Minnesota sports history.

So even if it would make good football sense to at some point in the next few years sell Peterson high before his skills drop, the Vikings can’t afford to even entertain the idea of getting rid of one of the best players the team has ever had.  (Then again, Fran Tarkenton once was traded.  As was Randy Moss.)

Lost in the emerging debate, which isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds at first blush, is one key factor.  What if Peterson decides he wants out?

The Josh Freeman test drive primarily will help the Vikings determine whether they’ve found a potential franchise quarterback.  If it doesn’t work out — if Minnesota can’t finally develop a passing game to balance the best running back since Barry Sanders — it’s not inconceivable that Peterson would discreetly launch an internal campaign to get the same thing Tony Gonzalez once got from the Chiefs:  a trade to a contender.

Peterson has been to the playoffs only twice during a career that demands more January games.  If the Vikings continue to fail in their effort to develop a passing game, who could blame Adrian for wanting to go to a place where he can win?

44 responses to “Peterson trade speculation overlooks one key factor

  1. Its time for the Vikings to send him to another team hopefully a contender so AP can get a ring he deserves it .

  2. Everyone knows you don’t trade the MVP and most dangerous offensive threat in the game. The chances the Vikes trade him are 0%
    The media just wants something to write about.

  3. C’mon, Mike, You’re a Vikings fan. You should know Peterson has been the playoffs THREE times, not two. 2008, 2009, and 2012.

  4. Peterson has been to the playoffs three times: 2008, 2009, and 2012. That’s half of the full seasons he’s been in the league (2007-2012).

  5. Can’t put that much money into a RB. I laugh at the Vikings fans that try to poke at the Packers by saying they paid too much for Rodgers and Matthews. They put their money into premier positions such as pass rusher and passer. In today’s NFL that is where you put your money. Putting it at RB no matter who just won’t let you win. Not the 1950s anymore.

  6. Won’t happen in the next 3-4 years. The guy IS the Vikings and will be until he’s retired. No way they trade the only guy putting butts in the stands and keeping the Vikings somewhat relevant.

  7. Should have traded him before they extended his contact. I’ve been saying this since they extended him. Don’t get me wrong, I love having one of the best running backs in history on my favorite team but he does no good without a quarterback who can air it out.

  8. I really hate when teams trade their stars to teams that already dominate. I don’t think many people want to see AD go to Denver, for example.

  9. I don’t know why you even bring up the Walker trade for comparison. That trade never should have happened, and never will happen again.

  10. They traded Percy Harvin, last years mvp before he got injured.. because he felt like the QB was crap.

    Vikings didn’t appreciate that one of the NFL most dynamic players was dissing their young franchise qb, who also had the benefit of the NFL’s best rb, last years mvp at his disposal.

    Percy had a bit of an anger management problem too, upset that despite of these skills he possessed, Bill Musgrave the OC, couldn’t for the life of him figure out how to get Percy on the field.

    What would the Vikings do with all the cap space saved from trading AP.. sign Toby to long term extension?

    Keep AP until he goes LT

  11. It would really make a lot of sense to trade him if they can get back multiple first rounders. Any fan of the team who disagrees does not understand how championship teams are built. You need a QB plain & simple. AP clearly can’t get you there on his own. A freaking all time season last year & you barely squeaked into the playoffs. Trade him, build for the future.

  12. If the Vikings trade AP, I give up hope for this franchise. Unfortunately, they’ve been a competent QB (except ’09), and coach away from competing since AP was drafted.

    You’d think they’d learn to never get involved in a trade ever again. The Vikings generally get the short end. Trading for Hershel Walker and basically giving the Cowboys the ammo to win a couple Super Bowls. Trading Randy for Napoleon Harris and then drafting Troy Williamson. Trading anything for AJ Jefferson. Trading up to draft Tavaris Jackson. Giving up a 3rd round pick for Randy Moss then cutting him 3 weeks later. Need I continue?

  13. What team has the cap room on a playoff caliber team with a weak running game?

    San Fran, Dallas?

  14. The Herschel Walker trade only happened because the owner of the Vikings at that time (Mike Lynn) was looking for a way to avoid having to pay what he thought was too much money for high draft picks.
    Lynn was a cheapskate, and getting rid of six high draft picks (three firsts and three seconds) was his way of cutting costs; that’s why the deal was so lopsided.

    As for trading Peterson, while I don’t like the idea, it would force the team to realize that they can no longer depend on one skill position player to make their offense work.

    This team needs better coaching and better play-calling to even figure out whether the QBs they have can operate an NFL offense. There are 31 teams that don’t have a running back as good as AP.

  15. We will trade AP, 2 3rds, a 5th and a 10th for 2lbs, an rb , a de, a cb, 3 1sts, 3 2nds, a 3rd and a 6th.

  16. AP doesn’t deserve to be traded to a “winning team” …. He’s an athlete, doesn’t deserve a damn thing.

    Lets also not forget, AP is the main reason why the Vikes didn’t beat the cheat shot Saints in the NFC championship game.

    So again, AP doesn’t deserve anything

    – A die hard Vikes fan who loves AP.

  17. A “sublimeday”…..has to be an “acme packer” fan……..the worst fans in the universe…!!!
    They turned on Favre like nothing ever seen before…!!!
    GO Peterson….GO VIKINGS…..!

  18. He’s been to the play offs 3/6 years. Don’t tell me that the Vikings are wasting his time. I think in the end it all comes down to what Adrian wants. Sit him down after this year and ask him man to man. Honestly he’s a legend here in Minnesota and it would kill me to see him go, but at the same time I respect him enough that I want to see him with a ring.

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