Anyone reading this article, or any on Footballnation.com for that matter, shouldn't have to be reminded that football is a contact sport. However, it looks as though that's exactly what the Minnesota Vikings organization seems to be overlooking when it comes to their top running back, Adrian Peterson.
Minnesota Star Tribune sports reporter Dan Wiederer broke the news with the following tweet: "(Defensive back) Jamarca Sanford on orders given to the D about Adrian Peterson: "The rules are simple. Do not touch (number) 28. If you touch him, you're cut.""
Yes, you read that correctly, cut. Now, it's understandable that the Vikings want to protect their most valuable asset who accounted for 970 yards and 12 TDs last season, even after being hobbled by an ankle injury and missing three games.
It's also logical that the coaching staff is being hyper-vigilant after Peterson's devastating knee injury in game 16 of last year that tore both the ACL and MCL ligaments in his knee.
Still, it's tough to fathom Minnesota announcing such a blanket edict restricting the rest of the team. It seems obvious that if they want Peterson to remain healthy until the regular season, they need only keep him out of any situation where contact might occur. After all, it's not like Peterson is likely to forget how to properly take a hand-off or hit the hole. Even with no contact, he should be able to shake off the rust pretty quickly, and let's be honest, Peterson's knee will likely be a target come the regular season anyway.
What's more concerning though, is the fact that the Vikings are essentially broadcasting a major vulnerability. The NFL is a billion dollar business, and like any other, is susceptible to unethical behavior on behalf of a few bad apples. Look at the New England Patriots film scandal and the New Orleans Saints "Bountygate" if you don't believe questionable behavior exists in the NFL.
Is it too far-fetched then to believe some guy on the Vikings' roster, who knows he's not going to make the cut anyway, might be tempted to take cash or other enticements from another team in the division to ensure Peterson never takes the field? Sure, it might seem reminiscent of "The X-Files," or a bit like one of the numerous JFK conspiracy theories, but remember, something similar happened to Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. She was assaulted with a collapsible baton by her rival Tonya Harding's husband.
Now the Vikings weren't exactly gold-medal contenders last year when they finished a deplorable 3-13, so it's unlikely that kind of scenario would really occur. Regardless, if it was the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots or most other NFL teams, it stands to reason that the whole situation might have been handled with a little more intelligence and a lot more discretion.