Publicly, both sides are saying the right things about the potential continuation of Adrian Peterson as the face of the Vikings franchise. Peterson recently said “of course” he’d like to stay; team president Mark Wilf on Wednesday used that same phrase, twice, when talking about keeping Peterson around.
But the team’s actions perhaps speak more loudly than any words the Vikings could articulate. On Thursday, the Vikings promoted Kevin Warren from Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer to Chief Operating Officer.
“I am energized and excited to continue to be a part of the Vikings organization and to lead our business operations moving forward,” Warren said in a team-issued release. “My family has thoroughly enjoyed making Minneapolis-St. Paul our home with the wonderful people in this community. Over the last 10 years I have marveled at the Vikings rich tradition and developed great appreciation for our fans, the most passionate in the NFL. The Wilfs are deeply committed to building a world-class organization and winning a Super Bowl, and I embrace this next opportunity with great tenacity as we work to achieve our shared goals.”
The ascension of Warren while Peterson’s status remains unresolved possibly isn’t a coincidence. Regardless of any influence Warren may or may not have in the decision to keep or not keep Peterson, the move could make Peterson even more determined to get a fresh start elswhere.
In November, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Peterson specifically was referring to Warren when Peterson said that someone in the organization was working against Peterson. With Warren assuming a greater role and higher profile in the organization, it may become even harder for coach Mike Zimmer to persuade Peterson to choose to stay.