MINNEAPOLIS -- After each of the Vikings' last two games, Adrian Peterson said he thought Leslie Frazier should be back as the Vikings' head coach. He added he planned to talk to ownership about it after the season (though Peterson has been around the NFL long enough to know how quickly coaches get fired after their seasons conclude). And after Sunday's game, he added he wanted to be more in tune with what offseason moves the Vikings are making, to keep an eye on the direction of the franchise before he enters his eighth season with the team.
On Monday, when reporters approached him for his thoughts on the Vikings' decision to fire Frazier before sunrise, Peterson said nothing.
He still had nothing to say when approached for comment via text message on Tuesday, though general manager Rick Spielman said he talked to Peterson and a number of other players about the decision on Monday.
"I tried to talk to every unrestricted free agent we had, every one of the players that were on the leadership council that was in place and I'll eventually get through all the players, especially the veterans," Spielman said. "I wanted to hear their opinions. (Team president) Mark (Wilf) and (owner) Zygi (Wilf) sat in there with me as we talked to the players as well. I understand how difficult change is for people and how difficult change is because it's the unknown. But I also know sometimes when you make that change it also can bring a spark as well."
That could be true, but for a player who's rarely one to rock the boat, Peterson's progression from pointed opinions to sullen silence spoke volumes. He will be 29 in March, and seems acutely aware that his window to win a championship with the Vikings is shrinking. Peterson is under contract through 2017, said he plans to play for years to come added "I plan on being the best" as long as he's on the field.
But as we discussed last week, history suggests Peterson won't be elite forever. He's also mused about the possibility of playing in his home state of Texas one day, and his opinion of the Vikings' upcoming moves certainly bears watching. Peterson's closest brush with a Super Bowl came in 2009, the one year he had an elite quarterback (Brett Favre) in the same backfield, and if he's asked to weather another learning curve for a new quarterback while playing in a new system, his patience could run short.
Giving players too much of a voice in organizational decisions can lead to some ugly side effects (see Favre's rift with general manager Ted Thompson on his way out of Green Bay), and if the Vikings hire an impressive coach, Peterson isn't the type to hold a grudge. But the fact that he's becoming more vocal about his opinions -- and his choice to sit frostily silent this week -- is something the Vikings will have to be mindful of as they make their offseason decisions.