The Adrian Peterson to Dallas rumors just won’t die.
No matter how illogical and downright impossible it seems financially.
And never mind that the Minnesota Vikings have consistently said they have no plans to cut or trade the All-Pro running back.
It’s a decided long shot.
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Yet, the rumors just won’t go away.
So enough with shooting them down.
Time will tell, one way or another.
Let’s talk about why it could happen.
First and foremost, the dream is real on both sides.
It's been widely reported that Peterson wants out of Minnesota. But what’s also true, per sources, is that he would love to finish his career back in Texas with the Dallas Cowboys, who play less than two hours from his home town of Palestine.
And that is not even considering the fact that his agent, Ben Dogra, is doing his best to get him out of Minnesota.
Likewise, the Cowboys are secretly coveting the possibility of having Peterson run behind the team’s massive offensive line, which is considered the best in the league.
So much so that the two biggest factors that saw them allow the NFL’s leading rusher and offensive player of the year, DeMarco Murray, leave for Philadelphia in free agency — metrics and money — are not considered deal-breakers when it comes to Peterson.
Per a source, one of the team’s biggest fears affecting the Murray negotiations was doing anything that would cost them the opportunity to land Peterson, even if it was (and still is) a long shot.
Getting back to the metrics and money.
The Cowboys held firm on the money they were offering Murray because of the analytics that said running backs decline as they get older, his injury history, the decline of backs following seasons with high-usage totals and his big numbers coming in a contract year.
Even more telling was this quote from vice president Stephen Jones when discussing Murray: “To me, what you can do is be consistent every year like [Hall of Fame running back and NFL rushing king] Emmitt Smith was. You are even more unique if you can do it every year. It’s well documented he was injured every year until this last year.”
Peterson may be the closest thing to Smith when it comes to consistency, and there is no question he is unique in production and skills as the best back in the league.
He is a franchise back. He is the outlier, the exception to the rule, when considering the metrics at running back.
The same is true when it comes to the money. The Cowboys have been disciplined in their approach to free agency, partly because they have limited resources and partly because they have no interest in paying market price for below-market talent.
That doesn’t apply to Peterson, and while they would be challenged to find the money to fit his $12.75 million base salary under the cap, it is not out of the realm of possibility were they able to acquire him in a draft-day trade, a source said.
What’s true is that it is something they will consider.
Clearly the Cowboys are operating like they will address their running back problem through the draft and with the players they already have on the roster.
Owner Jerry Jones has already acknowledged they will do thorough research on all the top backs in the draft and confirmed at least five will be brought to the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters for visits April 6-8.
That is where they will find their most likely successor to Murray.
No doubt about that.
Still, the Peterson to Dallas rumors won’t die.
They probably won’t until after the draft.
You know what they say, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”
So let the flames fan on.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.