Nothing makes me worry about the state of public education more than reading comments from football fans on some of the bigger sites out there. I guess not every blog can have a group of such well-informed and reasonable readers as this one does.
I bring this up right now because I have noticed quite a few Vikings fans calling for the team to trade Adrian Peterson away in hopes of addressing other needs.
This speculation is not reserved for the unintelligent, however, as one of my favorite bloggers, Vikes Geek, recently penned an item that encourages the notion that the Vikings could reverse the fortunes of the 21 year old Herschel Walker trade.
Allow me to tell you why this will not happen.
First, much has changed in the NFL over the last 21 years. The free agency era has made blockbuster trades of this nature almost nonexistent. Teams are not going to give up eight draft picks for one player when they know they may be able to wait just one more year to fill their need via a free agent signing.
Second, running backs are a dime a dozen right now. Despite some teams (Seahawks, Chiefs) seemingly never being able to claw their way out of running-back-hell, there is a surplus of talented runners on the NFL market right now. A serviceable, temporary option is always available until you can get the guy you want without investing too much.
Third, the 1989 Cowboys had not had a winning season in three seasons and few people would argue that they didn’t have a “nucleus” to build around. Walker wasn’t going to single-handedly win them a championship, so he was sold to ensure a better future. The 2010 Vikings do have nucleus to build around and while there are some needs, there is nothing so pressing that a risk like this needs to be taken. Peterson, in fact, is a big part of the existing nucleus after helping pull the Vikings out of the heap of mediocrity that they planted themselves in during the middle of the decade. The Vikings are a win now team, and bringing such drastic transition to the offense could set this team back a ton.
Fourth, Peterson is still being employed on the cheap, relatively speaking. Considering that he is entering his prime with two years left on his rookie contract, the Vikings could remain his employer at a relatively cheap price through the duration of his rookie deal. Assuming there are no ridiculously distracting hold outs in the near future, the Vikings could let him play out his rookie deal, franchise him the following year, and get at least three more years out of their “Top Three” running back. Three years down the road, when Peterson is beginning to exit his prime, then perhaps we can have a more serious discussion about dealing him away.
Fifth, if the goal is to get Brett Favre back in 2010, then dealing away the part of the offense that keeps it balanced is not an appropriate strategy. Getting rid of Peterson would be the exact type of thing that could keep Brett content with retirement.
That’s my take. I don’t see this happening any time real soon, but perhaps I’m just blinded by the fact that I don’t want to see it happen ever.