Tension rises between Adrian Peterson's agent, Vikings exec in Indy
Adrian Peterson's agent got into an altercation with a Vikings executive Indy at the NFL Combine in what is the latest chapter in the ongoing drama between the two camps.
The decaying relationship between Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson and the organization took a dramatic turn during the combine last week in downtown Indianapolis: Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, had to be separated from a member of Minnesota’s front office during a heated verbal altercation about the former Pro Bowler, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation.
According to the sources, Dogra engaged in a heated exchange with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski during which the agent made it clear that Peterson would never play there again. The incident took place during a time when outside parties were in the vicinity. Finally, former Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik intervened, separating the men and diffusing the escalating tension, sources said.
The Vikings did not respond to requests to comment for this report. Dogra did not respond to numerous messages. Dominik has not commented as well.
Peterson, who is signed through 2017 and set to make $13 million in 2015, has no intention of playing again for the Vikings, sources said. Peterson, sources said, lost faith and trust in the franchise after a tumultuous ordeal over his child abuse charges that resulted in him missing nearly the entire season on the Commissioner’s Exempt List while his legal situation played out.
“He will never play another game for the Vikings,” said one person close to the player. “It’s over.”
While it is not unusual for tempers to rise during the combine, the scope of this clash – taking place regarding an active personnel situation with a star of Peterson’s caliber – in that setting is certainly well outside the norm. It crystallizes the simmering friction between the camps, according to those familiar with the divide between the sides. It came at a time when Vikings team officials continued to make unified, sweeping statements during media sessions at the combine about how committed they are to Peterson’s return. (Though Vikings general manager Rick Spielman refused to discuss Peterson’s contract with us in the below video, an outlier among running back compensation, and whether the team would continue to pay the player such a steep salary following his off-field woes.)
Peterson and the NFLPA have taken their case against the NFL’s discipline to a federal court, and, unless the court was to intervene, Peterson currently cannot be reinstated to the league until April 15 at the earliest. Peterson’s camp has every intention to hasten his trade or release from Minnesota, and this situation could continue to flare between now and then.
Peterson, 29, has spent his entire illustrious career with the Vikings since being selected seventh overall in 2007, racking up rushing titles and becoming the face of that franchise and one of the more decorated players in Vikings history. But relationships began to erode after the team initially announced he would return to the Vikings following his indictment on child abuse charges in Texas, but then, in concert with the league, ended up brokering a deal that put Peterson on the exempt list – and paid in full for the duration of the season.
After all of the public and media backlash the Vikings absorbed for their initial handling of the Peterson case -- including having a top sponsor, Radisson, pull out -- some believe the team will not be inclined to go through a prolonged fight with Peterson, when some in the organization maintain concerns over his contract and off-field activities. Trading or cutting Peterson results in no significant cap ramifications, and in fact would save the team $13M in cash and $13M in cap space. They managed to run the ball decently without him last season and had a strong showing overall, finishing 7-9 with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and engendering positive vibes and hopes for the future.
The longer this goes on, and the more uncomfortable it is, the Vikings may have no choice but to part with the player. Peterson's contract – with a whopping $48M remaining over the next three years – is an anomaly for running backs and one no team may want to take on. Peterson would seemingly be more inclined to take less elsewhere.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Peterson have mutual admiration, and Peterson makes his home in Texas. Further, the Cowboys have been linked with the running back in NFL circles for quite some time, though sources said a coupling of the two would hardly be a slam dunk. One source suggested the Washington Redskins as a dark-horse potential suitor for him.
Even at a time when the money has been drying up for running backs, Peterson’s exploits, including a 2,000-yard season, would make him attractive to several teams. There would be a market for him, despite his status with the league’s personal conduct policy.
In the meantime, the Vikings could face more uncomfortable questions about the running back’s future with the club as it becomes increasingly clear Peterson is committed to moving on from them.
Now that's commitment
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