While it's easy to point to a potential Adrian Peterson-for-Larry Fitzgerald trade between the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals and simply laugh (and shake your head) (and sneer derisively) (and feverishly type out poorly worded, grammatically incorrect diatribes on the idiocy of whoever dreamed up such a nonsensical notion in the comments section of this article), if this NFL offseason has proven anything, it's that no possibility can truly be ruled out.
Yes, the Cardinals just restructured Fitzgerald's deal and have been adamant that he'll remain with the team for the foreseeable future.
Yes, the Vikings have stated their intention to keep Peterson - even at his $12.3 million cap number and despite his reported unhappiness with certain members of the front office.
Still, a rumored deal between the two sides just won't seem to die.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated revealed in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback offering that a Cardinals source told him recently that while there's every possibility that interest exists between the two sides on a Peterson trade, a deal most likely won't get done due to financial concerns on the part of Arizona.
"I spoke with a reliable Cardinals source Sunday night, and the three years and $45 million left on Peterson's contract is an absolute non-starter with the Cards. 'We haven't had contact with the Vikings about it, to the best of my knowledge,' the source said. 'And there is no way we could live with those numbers. We just got Larry Fitzgerald's contract under control. No way we'd add that salary.'"
With Fitzgerald's freshly restructured contract guaranteeing him $11 million each of the next two seasons and containing a no-trade clause, it seems to ensure that he'll finish his career as a member of the Cardinals, the team that drafted him in the first-round of the 2004 NFL Draft and turned him into a perennial Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer.
Except things - as they often tend to do - may not work out as seamlessly as all involved parties hope.
Fitzgerald, 31, is now likely third on the depth chart for the Cardinals at wideout behind Michael Floyd and John Brown - $11 million a season is a lot for a third receiving option.
Add in the presence of Andre Ellington and John Carlson - along with the fact that the Cardinals are reportedly high on the crop of running backs in the 2015 NFL Draft - and that cap figure continues to look more and more out of line with the reality of Fitzgerald's already declining production in the Arizona offense.
He's essentially an expensive luxury item for the Cardinals, especially considering they employ a head coach in Bruce Arians known to prefer the implementation of a power running game. In that sense, Peterson makes much more sense as an expensive offensive weapon for Arizona than Fitzgerald.
Peterson is almost 30, but he's a seemingly inhuman athletic freak of nature that has now avoided two full NFL seasons of wear and tear on his legs. It's likely that he could get at least two more seasons of elite play out his body - which aligns perfectly with the remaining years of starting caliber play the Cardinals can reasonably expect out of quarterback Carson Palmer.
For the Vikings, a Fitzgerald acquisition makes sense on several levels.
"For years, there's been speculation that Fitzgerald would like to end his career in his home state of Minnesota, returning to the franchise for which he once served as a ball boy," writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. "Last season, speculation swirled that a straight up trade of Peterson for Fitzgerald could happen. Maybe it still could."
While the Vikings already have last year's surprise standout Charles Johnson, underwhelming third-year wideout Cordarrelle Patterson and the recently acquired Mike Wallace in the fold, moving an unhappy Peterson and bringing Fitzgerald back would add another steady, established weapon for Minnesota's young franchise signal-caller, Teddy Bridgewater.
Johnson, despite finishing the season on a high note, only has 31 receptions for 475 yards and two touchdowns to his name in the NFL.
Patterson followed an electrifying rookie campaign with an underwhelming second season and the team has openly questioned his mentality as an NFL player. They've denied reports that he's on the trade block, but talk persists.
Wallace, despite his fat free agent contract with the Dolphins a few short seasons ago, hasn't reached the 1,000-yard plateau since 2011. He's 28 and more of a one-dimensional speed threat at this point of his career.
In all, the Vikings depth chart at receiver looks good on paper, but head coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman are depending on a lot to go right in order for things to work out in Bridgewater, and the team's, favor.
The potential addition of Fitzgerald would add a marquee - if declining - talent that would both upgrade the overall competition level at the position as well as bring a high-quality, professional personality into the mix who can show Patterson and Johnson what it takes to become star-caliber NFL receivers.
Point and laugh (and sneer derisively) (and post angry, pointed comments) all you want, but a Peterson-Fitzgerald trade really makes more sense than you think.