While Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson continues to have an open dialogue with the franchise about his future, he has pondered potential trade destinations and would consider a contract restructure if a deal becomes necessary, sources have told Yahoo Sports.
Peterson's father, Nelson, said the running back hasn't requested a trade, nor refused to return to Minnesota. But Nelson Peterson said any steps taken by his son in the coming weeks and months will be "business decisions" based on what is best for Peterson's future.
Another source inside Peterson's circle told Yahoo Sports the running back has entertained returning to the Vikings, but has also considered potential trade destinations. Under the latter scenario, Peterson would also consider restructuring his contract to make a trade work.
"All the options are open," Nelson Peterson said of those scenarios. "There's no doors closed on anything at this time. … Adrian will come back from this with a vengeance. He plays hard anyway, but he's got an extra chip on his shoulder. He will bounce back from this."
Peterson is currently on the commissioner's exempt list and hasn't been officially reinstated by the NFL. Last week, a federal judge overturned an arbitrator's ruling that upheld Peterson's suspension from the league, a ban that was scheduled to last until at least April 15. Peterson was suspended for violating the league's conduct policy after pleading no contest to hitting his 4-year-old son with a switch. The NFL is appealing the federal judge's ruling.
While the Dallas Cowboys have been reported to be a Peterson favorite destination, the running back prefers five teams: the Arizona Cardinals, the Indianapolis Colts, the Cowboys, the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That said, even if Peterson requested a trade, the Vikings could refuse and simply pay him the $12.75 million in base salary he's due in the 2015 season.
Multiple Vikings officials have said they want Peterson to remain with the team, including chief operating officer Kevin Warren. Nelson Peterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that a rift exists between Peterson and Warren, stemming from Peterson's legal troubles. But Nelson Peterson told Yahoo Sports that Warren's standing in the franchise ultimately won't be a deciding factor in whether Peterson requests a trade in the coming weeks.
"At the end of the day it's business," Nelson Peterson said. "Adrian understands that he's not bigger than the Vikings and he's not bigger than the NFL. Kevin doesn't go home with Adrian and Adrian doesn't go home with Kevin. They don't have to live with each other. It's not like he's one of the coaches or anything.
"Adrian has never requested a trade and has never said he wouldn't return to the Vikings. But you've got to look at it from the Vikings' point of view. They're not going to be quick to say, 'Hey, we're going to trade Adrian.' In their minds, if that is something that could happen, they're going to try and get what they can get for him. They're going to leave the price as high as they can – if that's even an option they're pursuing.
"When it gets to that point, it will be his decision, solely. I'll weigh in and this and that, but the final decision will not come from me and will not come from his agent. It will come from him."