Vikings running back Adrian Peterson denied a report that said he called Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and told him he would like to play for the Cowboys in the future.
“This was a casual conversation between NFL colleagues in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings,” Peterson said in a statement released by the team this afternoon. “I have always said I understand the NFL is a business but that I would love to retire as a Viking.”
According to an ESPN report, Peterson and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on the phone in June. The reporter only heard one side of the conversation — what Jones said to Peterson.
“Well, I understand, Adrian,” Jones reportedly said. “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.”
In the report, the ESPN reporter writes, “Listening to half the conversation, it is obvious Peterson is telling Jones he wants to play for the Cowboys.” At no point did the reporter state that he actually heard Peterson say that he would like to play for the Cowboys or encourage Jones to make a trade. But the report stated that Jones confirmed that Peterson told him that he wanted to play for Dallas.
Peterson grew up in Texas and has said multiple times that he was a Cowboys fan as a child.
The report came two days after Peterson told the Star Tribune he wanted to retire with the Vikings.
“They selected me, and things have been pretty good so far. We haven’t won a championship, but I don’t think they regret the pick,” Peterson told my colleague, Jim Souhan. “I know it’s a business. On the personal side, my goal is to finish my career as a Minnesota Viking. I would like to finish my career having played for just one team. Not many people get to do that. That would be special.”
Peterson, the highest-paid player on the Vikings, is under contract through the 2017 season.
The Cowboys could be in violation of the NFL’s tampering rules if they did not report the phone call to the Vikings. If they were, the Cowboys would be subject to a fine or the forfeiture of draft picks.
The Vikings did not say if they planned to push the NFL to pursue tampering charges.
“We are focused on the 2014 season, and as we have consistently communicated, Adrian is an integral part of the Vikings organization,” the team said in a statement.