John McMullen - NFL Editor Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Ben Dogra is running out of ammunition.
Adrian Peterson's agent was given his marching orders earlier this year and he's tried every conceivable angle to get his star client out of Minnesota.
Dogra has engaged in a leak campaign that would make most political operatives envious, and even started an unprofessional shouting match with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski at an Indianapolis restaurant during the league's scouting combine back in February, one that former Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik was forced to break up before it descended even further.
All of the shenanigans were designed to get A.P. out of Minneapolis because the former All-Pro believes Vikings COO Kevin Warren threw him under the bus during his child-abuse scandal last year.
To be blunt, though, it is Dogra's responsibility to explain to Peterson that in today's politically correct environment, no company is sticking by an employee who is being thrown to the wolves in the court of public opinion.
Look at how quickly Chicago cut bait with Ray McDonald earlier this week and, make no mistake, if Peterson pulled the same switch act while playing with a star on his helmet, Jerry Jones would have done the same thing as Warren.
Despite that, Peterson continues to blame Warren for working with Roger Goodell and the league to put the superstar on the then-little-known commissioner's exempt list last September, stemming from charges which ultimately resulted in Peterson pleading no contest to a misdemeanor.
The problem with a potential divorce, however, is Peterson has no real leverage because he is under contract with the Vikings through 2017 and Minnesota has made it clear that the organization is willing to ante up his base salary of $12.75 million for '15, meaning he won't be released.
And 30-year-old running backs, even ones with Hall of Fame credentials, don't bring much back on the open market in this league.
The no-nonsense Mike Zimmer cut through the bull and explained the Vikings' position after an OTA practice on Wednesday, the second straight one Peterson skipped after threatening retirement through a Dogra-leak earlier in the week.
"Adrian, he's really got two choices," the gruff Vikings coach said. "He can either play for us or he can not play. He's not going to play for anybody else. That's just the way it's going to be."
The first mandatory practice for Peterson is the start of the team's minicamp on June 16. At that point, teams can fine players for staying away, more than $70,000 for missing the full three days.
That's a pittance for Peterson, though, as he already has surrendered a $250,000 workout bonus that he would have received by attending the Vikings' OTAs.
The belief is that after the draft passed without Minnesota working out a deal for Peterson, Dogra would instead shift his focus toward a "financial apology," one which would have guaranteed more of Peterson's future earnings, which include $14.75 million for 2016 and $16.75 million for '17.
Peterson, however, remains enraged at Warren and is making one last-ditch effort to play chicken with the Vikings.
Zimmer just ran right through A.P., though, and will force him to sit, content to go with talented second-year man Jerick McKinnon and short-yardage specialist Matt Asiata at running back if need be.
"I'm not worried about it," Zimmer said. "He's missed a lot of OTAs over the course of his career. I'm not worried. I've got 89 guys out here that I'm coaching and trying to get better. It is what it is."
What should concern Zimmer, though, is not Peterson's place of residence come September, it's the fact his star refuses to take any responsibility for the scandal, instead using a scapegoat for his fall from grace.
The rest of us see it pretty clearly. The man who started Peterson's problems looks at him in the mirror every morning.
It's certainly understandable why the Vikings want value for what is their best pure football player, and the thought of am emerging Teddy Bridgewater with an All-Pro-level running attack behind him has to be intoxicating.
The other side of that coin, though, is putting a negative influence in the locker room with a young quarterback, and moving forward with a guy who fails to recognize hitting a 4-year-old with a switch probably isn't a good idea.
In fact, perhaps the most distasteful part of this whole thing is that the activists who went after Peterson so hard have flashed no outrage now that he is blaming all his problems on others because the end game was already accomplished -- publicity.
Talent has always been the be-all and end-all in the NFL, but Peterson is actually testing that thesis will a level of selfishness that helps explain the lifestyle that created his problems.