Peterson to Cowboys? Not happening

IRVING, Texas -- Adrian Peterson, if you listen to him, sounds like a man who no longer wants to play for the Minnesota Vikings.

Before you get too excited, that doesn't mean he's playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015.

You're certainly entitled to dream about it. And feel free to drop to your knees and pray about it too. Consult a psychic, if you want.

It ain't happening.

Way too many things would have to fall perfectly into place for Peterson to play for the Cowboys next season.

First, DeMarco Murray has to leave, which is hardly a given. Yes, the Cowboys have given him permission to seek his fortune elsewhere, which really means the Cowboys want to know the best offer he can get from another franchise so they can negotiate off that number.

Murray wants to win, and he wants to play here. He'll be 27 when the season starts, and he's coming off a season in which he carried the ball 392 times in the regular season. History suggests he will never, ever be the same runner. No one knows whether history will be correct, but no team wants to get stuck with a huge contract and runner with diminishing skills, so it seems unlikely he'll be blown away by an offer.

Murray wants to be here, and the Cowboys keep saying they want him. Ultimately, you figure they'll find a way to get a deal done. Unless, of course, the Cowboys insult him with an offer -- always a possibility, given the way they do business these days.

If Murray does leave, the Cowboys aren't trading anything to Minnesota for Peterson. If they do, it means they have to accept his current contract, which is supposed to pay him $12.75 million this season.

The Cowboys are already on the hook for nearly $13 million in salary-cap space because they're putting the franchise tag on Dez Bryant, and don't forget Romo is supposed to count $27 million against the cap. Another player with a double-digit cap figure isn't a viable option.

Do the Cowboys really want to trade for a 30-year-old running back who has absorbed a thousand more hits than Murray and will undoubtedly cost several million more dollars per season?

If, as folks have been telling me for weeks, anybody can gain 1,600 yards behind the Cowboys' vaunted offensive line, why pay that kind of money to a running back? Besides, any pick you trade for Peterson is one fewer pick to help a defense that played significantly better than its pedigree.

This isn't fantasy football, and the Vikings aren't dumb. If they believe Peterson and the Cowboys have been plotting a union, they're certainly not going to facilitate it. If they do move Peterson, you would think the Vikings would prefer to trade Peterson to an AFC team, where he won't have a hand in potentially keeping them out of the Super Bowl and they'd only have to play him once every four seasons.

The Vikings could eventually waive Peterson, but that isn't going to happen until they've exhausted every conceivable option to keep him.

Peterson can't apply for reinstatement to the NFL until April 15. The draft begins April 30, which leaves not nearly enough time for the Vikings to explore every option concerning Peterson's return. They're not releasing him before the draft.

This is a deep draft for running backs, so the Cowboys aren't going to pass on one of in hopes Murray will eventually be released and sign with them. After all, he'll be an unrestricted free agent, if that happens, and lots of teams will court him.

The Cowboys, as of today, really have no idea who will be carrying the ball when training camp starts in July. It could be Murray or a free agent running back such as Mark Ingram. It could be one of the esteemed college running backs such as Georgia's Todd Gurley, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon or Indiana's Tevin Coleman. Or it could be someone else.

Lots of options exist. It's just hard to believe one of those options is Peterson.