If running back Adrian Peterson had been able to return to the Vikings this year, he would have had an opportunity to determine whether he and his family would be able to stay in Minnesota for the rest of his career in light of the events that derailed Peterson’s 2014 season. As it stands, he won’t have a chance to test the waters — which may result in Peterson seeking an opportunity to play somewhere else in 2015.
Peterson tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today that he would return to the Vikings if the appeal of his suspension results in a reinstatement between now and the end of the regular season, and that Peterson has given extensive thought to the possibility that “maybe it’s best for me to get a fresh start somewhere else.”
Time is working against Peterson and the Vikings having a reunion in 2014. With five weeks and three days remaining until the end of the regular season, Peterson faces an uphill climb to secure a successful appeal and play in Minnesota this year.
“I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there,” Peterson said. “But if there’s word out that hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I’ve given everything I had in me.”
There’s actually no “word out” that the Vikings might release Peterson. The Vikings have been adamant about their belief that Peterson is a Viking. If anything, the Vikings would want to trade Peterson in lieu of letting him walk away.
Ultimately, the Vikings control the outcome because they control Peterson’s rights. If the Vikings refuse to let him go, he’ll have to decide whether to play for the Vikings or no one.
At a compensation package of $13 million in 2015, it’s hard to imagine Peterson walking away. But that may not keep Peterson from trying to force his way out. He expressed a general, vague belief to Pelissero that the support for Peterson in the organization is not unanimous.
“I would have to get back in the community and get a feel,” Peterson said. “I know who loves me. The coaches and the players, it’s not going to be a problem. I’ve felt so much support from those guys. The organization, I know there’s people in the organization that support me and there’s people that I know internally that has not been supporting me.”
Peterson did not identify any persons with the team who he believes are not supporting him.
The interview, Peterson’s first since being indicted on felony child abuse charges in September, contains extensive comments from Peterson regarding his resolve not to use a switch when disciplining his children, his reasons for not attending the hearing/meeting at the league office last Friday, and his desire to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell.