There are plenty of interesting elements to the phone call that reportedly took place between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in which Peterson expressed an interest in joining Jones in Dallas.
One of those elements: is this phone call considered tampering?
Jones told ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., who reported the phone call occurred, that he didn’t believe the call was tampering. But looking at the NFL’s rules about tampering, as outlined by Natta Jr.’s colleague, Ben Goessling, it would seem Dallas made a mistake here.
NFL rules say if a team is contacted by a player under contract with another club, “the contacted club must immediately report such contact to the owner or operating head of the club which holds the player’s rights.” Jones told Van Natta he did not contact the Vikings
But, even though Jones did not disclose the phone call to the league, Dallas might escape this without a tampering charge because of a six-year-old precedent.
Back then, of course, the Green Bay Packers filed tampering charges against the Vikings for former coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s contact with Brett Favre while the quarterback — then retired, but still under contract — was weighing his options during the summer of 2008. Favre eventually decided to play, was traded to the New York Jets and wound up with the Vikings a year later, but the NFL dismissed the Packers’ tampering claim on the grounds that neither Favre nor the Vikings were soliciting one another.
as far as we know, it’s not as though Peterson told Jones to trade for him this season, or Jones promised Peterson a job if he should ever leave Minnesota.
While this makes it seems as if Dallas could be in the clear here even if the Vikings do file charges, it’s not certain and Jones likely wishes he could have avoided making his and Peterson’s phone call public in the first place.