On Monday, Adrian Peterson’s agent has said it’s not in the player’s best interests to remain with the Vikings. On Tuesday, the team’s head coach made it clear that his views on Peterson haven’t changed.
“I think everyone knows how I feel about Adrian,” coach Mike Zimmer told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “I respect him from the day I met him as a football player and everything else. He’s done so many good things as a community and the state of Minnesota for the Twin Cities. Really, we are just looking forward to getting him back and getting back with his teammates and playing for us. I can’t speculate on what other people say. All I know is how I feel and where we feel as an organization.”
Zimmer seemed surprised that Adrian’s agent would declare that Adrian is better off with another team.
“I know when we talked about football and the vision that I have for our football team and the vision I have for him, he seemed good to me,” Zimmer said. “I know that I have been in situations before that I haven’t felt like it was the right situation, but I was under contract and it worked out great and I believe that’s how it’s going to happen here.”
In other words (quite possibly), Adrian has made a contractual commitment that makes his personal feelings irrelevant. He’s under contract, for three more seasons. And the Vikings don’t seem to be inclined to do anything about that.
I specifically asked Zimmer whether the “Adrian is under contract” mantra arises from a desire to maximize Peterson’s trade value, like the declaration from two years ago that the team had “no intent” to trade Percy Harvin. Zimmer said that the Vikings want Peterson to stay with the team.
“That is always the number one thing to get him in the backfield with [quarterback] Teddy [Bridgewater], [receiver] Mike Wallace on the outside, [receiver] Charles Johnson the outside, [tight end] Kyle Rudolph inside,” Zimmer said. “That’s always been the situation we want to be in.”
Zimmer still believes that, come Week One, Peterson will be a Viking.
“One of the things that everybody in the world remembers is Adrian Peterson as a Minnesota Viking. When he gets a chance to get into the Hall of Fame, when he gets to go in there, he’s going to want to go in with how everyone represented him and remembered him. I just feel that’s how it’s going to work out.”
If the Vikings are merely trying to generate trade leverage by feigning interest in keeping Peterson, they should all finish the trek from Minnesota to Phoenix to Hollywood. The interest in keeping him, both on and off the record, seems to be real and genuine. While no one ever from the Vikings may say to him “play for us or play for no one,” that’s the dilemma he quite possibly will face.