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McAdoo steps in Adrian Peterson tampering pothole

Mike Florio talks about Adrian Peterson heading into free agency and what the chances are that he ends up returning to Minnesota.

By announcing on Tuesday that they won’t pick up an option on running back Adrian Peterson’s contract, the Vikings gave every other team a chance to tamper with Peterson by negotiating with his agents in Indianapolis. With Peterson still under contract until March 9, no one technically can speak to Peterson’s agents until next Tuesday, when the annual legal tampering period opens.

But illegal tampering will indeed happen. It’s rampant in Indianapolis, with all teams and all agents present for the Scouting Combine. But it’s also important that tampering happen discreetly, subtly. And it’s critical that no coach or G.M. publicly declare an interest in Peterson prematurely.

Apparently, Giants coach Ben McAdoo did. While not a major violation of a rule that will be blatantly violated with no paper trail or other proof in the coming days in Indianapolis, it’s an unforced error from McAdoo no different than Jets owner Woody Johnson’s gratuitous comments from two years ago about Darrelle Revis. (The Jets were fined $100,000.)

With most cases of tampering hard to prove and with nearly every team (if not every team) doing it, the league only acts when a team allows itself to get caught. McAdoo has done just that, and now the league will have to strike the balance between enforcing a rule that most if not all teams are currently breaking and creating the impression that the league office is going easy on the Giants, again.