Thursday, December 5, 2013
On Adrian Peterson's Texas thoughts
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- When Adrian Peterson said on ESPN Radio on Wednesday that he'd be intrigued by the possibility of playing in his home state, it wasn't the first time he'd raised the idea. Peterson is a proud Texan who spends his offseasons in Houston and returns to his hometown of Palestine each year for "Adrian Peterson Day." He sponsors a girls basketball team in his hometown, and when he got asked in an online chat this summer which team he would have preferred to play for had the Minnesota Vikings not drafted him, Peterson simply replied, "Texans!"
That the 28-year-old should have ties to home isn't a surprise. But it will be particularly interesting to see what happens in the next year or two, and whether the reigning NFL MVP gets any urge to act on them.
Peterson is signed with the Vikings through 2017, and in the same SVP and Russillo interview, he talked about how "it would be so amazing to be one of those players who stays with one team his entire career." In reality, his fate is more in the Vikings' hands than anyone else's, and the salary-cap ramifications of his contract complicate any potential move. But he turns 29 next spring, and could conceivably spend the rest of his prime with the Vikings as they try to bring up another young quarterback. Peterson got to the doorstep of the Super Bowl in 2010 -- he fumbled twice in a NFC Championship Game the Vikings lost in overtime -- and badly wants to win a championship. He's supported coach Leslie Frazier and quarterback Christian Ponder, and said he believes the Vikings are on the right track, but another year or two of losing could test his loyalty.
The refreshing thing about Peterson -- and the important thing to remember here -- is that he'll often entertain hypotheticals in interviews, speaking his mind about far-off scenarios rather than gunning them down and keeping his answers rooted in bland NFL minutiae. The barriers to him playing anywhere else are high, and it's hard to say right now that the Cowboys or Texans would be in any better position to get Peterson a championship than the Vikings would. But his comments are a reminder that Peterson's eyes are open to what's going on elsewhere, and that the Vikings need to take advantage of the reigning NFL MVP in his prime while they have him.