ESPN analyst and former NFL general manager Bill Polian had a strong message for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and his agent Ben Dogra on Tuesday.
Polian, who built four Super Bowl teams in Buffalo and drafted Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, has never been shy about voicing his opinion when asked for a GM's perspective, and Tuesday was no exception.
During a conference call with reporters, Polian said the Vikings hold the leverage in the situation involving their star running back, because Peterson is under contract with the team for three more years.
"I think that is a fact. It's very clear-cut. It's black and white, despite any protestations to the contrary. Secondly, if you were to be interested in trading for him, that means that the Vikings control the ability to move him. No one else. So there is no third-party interaction here. This is a question of whether or not the Vikings want to trade Adrian Peterson to someone else. So I think those two sets of facts have been lost in all of the noise that surrounds this situation almost since last January."
After meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York last week, Peterson could be reinstated into the league as early as Wednesday.
According to ESPN's Ben Goessling, there is a theory around the league that Peterson could be dealt on draft night to either Dallas or Arizona.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio seems to back that view, saying the Vikings' best chance to move Peterson would be to pull the swap off when the highest pick Minnesota might receive is on the clock.
"Getting that spot in exchange for Peterson before the draft would operate as a 'Hey, everybody, here's where we may take a running back with that pick!' message to anyone inclined to jump the line."
Polian said it wouldn't surprise him if the Vikings traded Peterson, but he also wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings keep Peterson either.
"I hasten to add that if the Vikings would be willing to entertain [a trade] – and they have said just the opposite, at least from where I can tell recently – trying to determine what's fair compensation for him in a trade assumes that the Vikings would be willing to enter into such a transaction, not that someone else decides that it should take place," Polian said.
Polian added that in his mind, Peterson's contract actually mitigates the running back's age, and Polian says the year off is probably a good thing for a running back.
Polian was clear when noting, "compensation is Rick Spielman's call."