DALLAS - A senior writer for ESPN's "Outside the Lines" says Vikings running back Adrian Peterson told the owner of the Dallas Cowboys that he'd like to play for his football club.
Don Van Natta, Jr. says he was in a luxury suite at AT&T Stadium after a George Strait concert June 7 with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when someone handed Jones a cell phone. Van Natta, Jr. says it was Adrian Peterson, who told the mercurial owner that he would like to play for the Cowboys when his contract with the Vikings ends.
"Well, we'll see what we can do, if we can make that happen," Jones, who is also the Cowboys' general manager, told Peterson, according to an ESPN report published Thursday. "Hmm hmm ... I'd like that, too ... Well, we're talking pig Latin here, but let's see if we can do that ... We're talking pig Latin here, but let's see what we can do about that. OK, Adrian, thanks."
Pro Football Talk writer Mike Florio says the "pig Latin" reference was to avoid accusations of tampering, something the NFL takes very seriously. At this time there is no indication of whether the Vikings have filed a complaint with the league.
When asked by Van Natta, Jr., Jones confirmed it was Peterson expressing interest in playing for Dallas.
The phone call was part of an expansive profile of Jones Van Natta Jr. was helping to prepare for ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
Peterson denied the report in a statement released by the Vikings Thursday afternoon.
"This was a casual conversation between NFL colleagues in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings," Peterson maintained in the written statement. "I have always said I understand the NFL is a business but that I would love to retire as a Viking."
The Vikings released their own comment on the story as well, downplaying the impact. "We are focused on the 2014 season, and as we have consistently communicated, Adrian is an integral part of the Vikings organization."
Peterson, 29, is in year four of a seven-year, $100 million contract that will reportedly pay him $11.75 million this fall to play for the Vikings.