The Minnesota Vikings and Adrian Peterson could be headed for a trade this offseason, as Peterson may not want to return to the Vikings and if that happens before the draft, teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars could be potential options for the running back in 2015.
Peterson and his future in Minnesota has been up in the air since last season and so far the Vikings have been open about wanting Peterson back. According to ESPN.com, head coach Mike Zimmer said that he expects Peterson to be back for the 2015 season and that the team has no plans to trade him. Peterson is still on the exempt list after his suspension was overturned on appeal and he could be reinstated soon.
Pro Football Talk reported last week that Peterson met with the NFL and roger Goodell, which was his first time talking to Goodell since last October. Peterson now could be officially reinstated soon and that would set up a discussion with the Vikings and Peterson about his future. The team can decide on that now, but things will really kick into gear once he is reinstated to the league. Peterson is reportedly "uneasy" about coming back to the Vikings, as he was upset at the way he was placed on the exempt list last season.
Peterson's agent Ben Dogra has come out to say that it may not be in the best interests of Peterson to stay with the Vikings and that could be his first step to pushing for a trade. The Vikings have been public about wanting Peterson back and if he doesn't want to play in Minnesota, it likely will be on his side of things and not from the team. Peterson's contract may make him tough to trade, as he has the highest cap hit of any running back in the league.
According to Peter King at MMQB, the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys are the most likely landing spots for Peterson and the Jaguars could be a "wild card" option. King wrote earlier in the offseason that the Cardinals would be willing to trade a high draft pick for Peterson, but they would want him to restructure his contract. Peterson has over $40 million left on his deal and is getting paid $12.75 million in base salary.
Peterson has a $15 million cap hit and that will make him tough to trade, as he is 30 years old, which is when most running backs start to break down. Peterson is not most running backs, but the Vikings may be okay with using Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata if they get a draft pick after doing it last season. The Cowboys just made some cap space while changing up Tony Romo's contract, but they may not be enough to add Peterson and sign the players from the draft.
King writes that while it's very unlikely, the Jaguars write that Peterson could be a target after the team went after DeMarco Murray this offseason. The team has over $25 million in space left on the salary cap and that could allow the team to absorb the cap hit without any big issues.