With Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suspended until April 15 at the earliest and trying to obtain a court order that would reinstate him before the start of the new league year, some believe Peterson eventually will ask the Vikings to trade or release him. The team’s official position remains that they’d prefer to keep him.
“Adrian’s done a lot of good in this community,” Vikings president Mark Wilf said Wednesday, via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. “He’s done a lot for us on the football field, as well. Of course, he’s a Minnesota Viking, and we’d love to have him back. And of course, a lot depends on the NFL and steps he’s making in his own personal journey. That’s where we’re at with it.”
It may or may not be a coincidence that Wilf twice used the phrase “of course.” Those are the two words Peterson used on Friday, when asked after a federal court hearing in Minneapolis whether he wants to stay with the Vikings.
If Peterson already is laying the foundation behind the scenes for a fresh start, Wilf surely knows it. While the team won’t risk alienating the fan base — or getting peanuts in return for Peterson’s rights — by saying they want to save the cash and cap space and move on from the tailback who’ll turn 30 next month, coach Mike Zimmer told PFT Live last month that he wants Peterson to return, but that it has to be a two-way street.
If Peterson is determined to secure a one-way ticket out of Minnesota, that’s the opening Peterson needed. The question becomes whether he can get reinstated in time to have maximum opportunities with teams that may no longer have a need at the position if Peterson isn’t reinstated until after the middle of April.