Is Adrian Peterson still on Cowboys radar?

Are the Dallas Cowboys still interested in bringing RB Adrian Peterson to the team?

Jeff Curry/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys continued to execute their Adrian Peterson backup plan this week. One by one, draft eligible running backs will stop by Valley Ranch to interview for this prestigious position.

But any report that indicates Jerry Jones isn’t interested in Peterson should be dismissed immediately. This is a superstar who’d likely be willing to take a paycut to play for his childhood team (and escape Minnesota). The Cowboys are roughly $13 million under the cap for 2015 after restructuring Tony Romo’s contract. I’ve been told by high-ranking sources the Cowboys still can’t afford Peterson. Of course, I don’t have to believe said sources all the time. The lies heighten each season as the draft approaches.

There’s not a player in this draft who can step on the field and have anywhere close to the impact of Peterson. The Cowboys are bullish on Georgia’s Todd Gurley but he may have to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, according to league sources.

I think the Vikings might be willing to trade Peterson for a third and perhaps fifth-round pick despite his exalted status as a player. The team’s fanbase seems to be split on whether it wants Peterson to return. The running back and his agent have made it clear they’d prefer a fresh start with another organization.

As far as troubled players go, Peterson is an easier sell than Greg Hardy with Cowboys fans. And it doesn’t seem like Hardy has been too difficult of a sell.

I think Jones wants to make this happen because he believes Peterson would make this an elite offense. And don’t underestimate his desire to respond to Chip Kelly’s power play with DeMarco Murray. With Peterson in the fold, the Cowboys would join the Seahawks and Packers as the favorites to win the NFC title. Jones surely knows that Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle can’t replace Murray’s production.

Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi, T.J. Yeldon and Javorius Allen are all set to visit the Cowboys prior to the draft. Gurley and Gordon are the only tailbacks you might consider trading up to draft. But I don’t see that happening. 

Jones is going to make a play for Peterson because it’s the sort of move he can’t resist. And Stephen Jones is far less likely to talk him out of this trade than the Johnny Manziel situation. Like Terrell Owens a few years ago, Peterson is an aging superstar with a year or two left of productive play. He carries some baggage, but that doesn’t matter with Jones.

This is an organization that believes in second chances. And that’s why Peterson getting a shot with the Cowboys is anything but a long shot.