Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a June telephone call he would like to play for the Cowboys at the end of his tenure with the Vikings, according to an “Outside the Lines” report.
“Well, I understand, Adrian,” Jones told Peterson during the call. “I’d like that, too … Well, I love your story. I love your daddy’s story. I’ve always respected what you’ve been about. I’ve always been a fan of yours.”
The telephone call is recounted as part of an expansive “Outside the Lines”/ESPN the Magazine profile of Jones by ESPN senior writer Don Van Natta Jr. that was published Thursday.
What’s interesting, of course, is that in the actual longer profile the version is a little different. Peterson never explicitly says he wants to play for the Cowboys — or at least we don’t get to hear that part of the conversation.
Then a man taps Jones on the shoulder, says Adrian Peterson wants to say hello and hands over an iPhone. Jones says hi to the Minnesota Vikings’ star running back and listens, nodding but not smiling. “Well, I understand, Adrian,” he says into the phone. The slanted smile returns. “I’d like that, too. … Well, I love your story. I love your daddy’s story. I’ve always respected what you’ve been about. I’ve always been a fan of yours.”
Listening to half the conversation, it is obvious Peterson is telling Jones he wants to play for the Cowboys. Peterson, 29, is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $100 million contract that will pay him $11.75 million this autumn to play for the Vikings.
“Well, we’ll see what we can do, if we can make that happen,” Jones is now saying. “Hmm-hmm. … I’d like that, too.”
In a statement released by the Vikings a few minutes after the ESPN report was posted, Peterson is quoted as saying: “This was a casual conversation between NFL colleagues in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings. I have always said I understand the NFL is a business but that I would love to retire as a Viking.”
The Vikings added: “We are focused on the 2014 season, and as we have consistently communicated, Adrian is an integral part of the Vikings organization.”
We look forward to seeing how the Vikings try to handle this, but we do not look forward to the endless hand-wringing of Vikings fans. Then again, Peterson is 29 years old, and some have suggested this could be his final year in Minnesota because of the way his contract is structured. Peterson, of course, is a Texas native and has said in previous interviews he was a big Cowboys fan growing up.