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Adrian Peterson linked to Cowboys, Colts, Cardinals

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Adrian Peterson isn't wild about the idea of returning to Minnesota for another season. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is equally loath to the prospect of releasing his best player without compensation.

Although Peterson has yet to request a trade, his father told the St. Paul Pioneer Prees that he's heard back-fence talk of three teams with interest in the superstar running back.

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"I've heard rumors, Arizona," Peterson's father, Nelson, said Thursday. "I've also heard the rumors of Indianapolis and the Colts, going there with a quarterback the caliber of (Andrew) Luck. I've also heard the Cowboys, coming back home with the Cowboys, behind that offensive line that they have."

Those are three of the four teams Gregg Rosenthal suggested as trade partners in Thursday's high-octane breakdown of the Vikings' options with Peterson this offseason.

Even if Spielman's preference is to keep Peterson, this is a tenuous situation that could take a turn for the worse if monetary demands aren't met.

"If a blockbuster deal opens and a team wants to gave them something they can't turn down," Nelson Peterson added, "they're going to have to take a look at it."

Let's take a closer look at three landing spots mentioned above.

Cowboys: Peterson hails from Palestine, Texas, between Dallas and Houston. He has publicly acknowledged a desire to finish his career with the Cowboys. He has even called Jerry Jones to express interest in teaming up once his Vikings career is finished. With DeMarco Murray set to reach free agency, this backfield could be up for grabs. It's easy to imagine Peterson once again flirting with Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record behind Dallas' road-grading offensive line.

Colts: Since Luck arrived in Indianapolis, his tailbacks have been inept (Trent Richardson), injury-prone (Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard) or role players stretched as starters (Donald Brown, Dan Herron). Contrary to conventional wisdom about the offensive line, Colts backs have averaged close to 5.0 yards per carry -- with the exception of Richardson -- over the past two years. Peterson would add much-needed toughness while teaming with Luck in a pick-your-poison offense.

Cardinals: With Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald on the back-nine of their careers, the Cardinals are built to win now. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, not one to incite undue enthusiasm, recently stated he wouldn't be surprised if general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians opt to pursue Peterson. After watching scat back Andre Ellington limp his way to 3.3 yards per carry last season, Peterson must look like a potential godsend.

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