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Adrian Peterson articles on Cowboys site don’t constitute tampering

Adrian Peterson

A couple of articles about Adrian Peterson that were published on the official website of the Dallas Cowboys don’t amount to tampering, per an interpretation of NFL rules by Pro Football Talk.

Rob Phillips, senior writer for the Cowboys site, wrote in a piece published Thursday that the acquisition of the Minnesota Vikings running back would make the Cowboys a “serious contenders.” Cowboys.com staff writer David Helman, in a counterpoint piece to Phillips’ article, writes that while Peterson would “provide for an entertaining season,” the Cowboys have “smarter courses of action” available than mortgaging the future — in some way, shape or form — than acquiring a high-mileage, high-priced, aging running back.

Helman did clearly state in his piece, though, that Peterson “remains under contract with the Vikings” and the “Cowboys have not expressed a desire to acquire Peterson.”

Mike Florio’s reading of the NFL rules, though, suggests that the Cowboys may not have technically violated the tampering rules, although it arguably can be inferred that perhaps the articles do so in spirit.

“Articles that appear on the website of a club that identify prospective free agents that the team might be interested in, or that rate prospective free agents, shall not be considered violations of the Anti-Tampering Policy unless they include a direct quote or expression of interest by an employee of the club (other than the author of the article) about a specific player,” the policy in question reads.

PFT reached out to the NFL for clarification, but no update as to whether the league responded has been provided.

The articles of course were partly inspired by the NFL’s announcement that Adrian Peterson would be reinstated on Friday and could rejoin the Vikings at any time.

That’s where things get complicated. Everything that’s come from the Peterson camp, including fiery comments from his agent, Ben Dobra, as well as from Peterson himself, seem to indicate that the running back would like to move on and start his career anew with another organization. The Vikings, meanwhile, don’t appear inclined to grant Peterson’s wish, stating on several occasions that the team expects him to be in uniform with the team next season and that he should honor his contract.

(image credit: Twin Cities.com)