Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
We’re tracking all things Purple, starting with what’s already happened and projecting what needs to happen as the Vikings work their way through free agency and the rest of the offseason.
The needle on the Adrian Peterson situation didn’t move much Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, but there were comments from both sides, so here’s a quick update.
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told reporters, including ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, “I don’t think it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota. Why would it be?” Seifert reported Dogra did not elaborate.
Rick Spielman, the Vikings general manager, reiterated to reporters that “Adrian’s a member of our football team. He is under contract with us, and we are focused on the 2015 season and expect Adrian to be a part of that.” The USA Today story on Spielman’s comments is here.
USA Today’s Tom Pelissero talked to Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf, who said Peterson is “an important part of the Minnesota Vikings and we look forward to him being part of our team in 2015.”
Peterson is under contract to the Vikings through 2017.
B. Todd Jones, formerly U.S. attorney for Minnesota, had a checkered two years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives before resigning last week amid rumors he was taking a job with the NFL.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said today Jones would join the league as Special Counsel for Conduct.
Jones graduated from Macalester in 1979 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983. A native of Cincinnati, he served as a judge advocate in the Marines after he passed the bar.
Lisa Friel, who had been working with the league on discipline issues, will be named NFL special counsel for investigations.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Goodell decided to split the duties of an NFL conduct officer between Jones and Friel.
Another day, another twist in the Peterson soap opera — though it’s clear who is writing this script.
Yahoo Sports reports that General Manager Rick Spielman invited Adrian Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, to dinner at the owners meetings next week. Dogra shut him down, much like what would happen if you or I were to ask Gisele Bündchen out to a romantic dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Maybe Dogra has other plans. But more likely it seems that this might be another attempt for the super-agent to try to create leverage for Peterson in a situation in which the running back has none.
We know Peterson is disgruntled, but he isn’t publicly saying why. It could be that he wants a new deal that gives him guaranteed money beyond 2015, something the contract he signed in 2011 will not provide him. Or maybe he really does want out, as has been speculated by national media.
But the reality is he is under contract with the Vikings through 2017, and the team still plans on keeping him around this season. That’s why the reports a couple of days ago that said that Spielman told Dogra that Peterson will not be released should have been met with intense eye rolls.
Of course they aren’t going to release him and give away a future Hall of Fame back for nothing.
If AP does stiff-arm his way out of town, it will be via a trade. But as I said a couple of paragraphs ago and a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings don’t plan on doing that as things stand now.
So Spielman might be dining alone at the owners meetings as Team Peterson digs its heels in again.
Free-agent safety Taylor Mays has left Winter Park without any deal announced by the Vikings.
Mays, who played for coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati, arrived in town yesterday for his visit. He was scheduled to have dinner with team officials last night and check out the team’s facility today.
In five NFL seasons with two teams, Mays made 98 tackles, recorded one sack and forced one fumble. The 27-year-old has broken up six passes and is still looking for his first NFL interception.
Originally a second-round pick of the 49ers, he joined Zimmer and the Bengals in 2011 and played 50 games for the team over the past four seasons. Mays was mostly a backup, but when Zimmer was in Cincinnati, he used Mays in a hybrid safety-linebacker role in some of his sub packages.
The Vikings are looking to upgrade at safety next to Harrison Smith, but it’s unclear if Zimmer sees Mays as a potential candidate to start or is looking to bring him in to reassume that reserve role.
In addition to the Vikings, the Bengals and the Redskins also reportedly have interest in Mays.
The Vikings have signed former Packers, Steelers and Jaguars running back DuJuan Harris to a one-year deal. His agent, Andy Simms, announced the signing on Twitter.
The 26-year-old rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries in 15 games with the Packers in 2014. He also returned 22 kickoffs for 456 yards.
Harris started his career in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Troy. He played five games for the Jaguars that year, rushing for 42 yards on nine carries.
After a brief stint with the Steelers in which he didn’t appear in a game, he joined the Packers’ practice squad in 2012. He ended up starting two games for the Packers that season and totaled 157 yards and two touchdowns in four games.
Harris, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 203 pounds, missed the entire 2013 season a knee injury.
With Harris signed, the Vikings now have seven running backs on their roster. The others are Matt Asiata, Joe Banyard, Henry Josey, Jerick McKinnon, Domonique Williams and, yes, Adrian Peterson.
|Real Salt Lake||2|
|(7) Florida State||74||FINAL|
|(3) South Carolina||80|
|(2) Notre Dame||77|