On Tuesday, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to the Vikings for an OTA practice. After the session, coach Mike Zimmer and Peterson met with the media.
Zimmer went first, explaining that the team welcomes Peterson with “open arms, unequivocally.” Zimmer also expressed pride in the way Adrian has handled the situation, and Zimmer said no contractual concessions were made to get Adrian to return.
Zimmer nevertheless created the impression that he’d be willing to go to bat with the front office to help Adrian get what he wants, with Zimmer saying he’ll always fight for his players.
Peterson then went to the podium, opening with a bit of a slap at those in the local media who have criticized him: “It actually feels good to see some familiar faces in here. Some, maybe not so much.”
He was also happy to see the familiar faces in the locker room; he explained that he returned now because “I just wanted to.”
Peterson admitted that, at one point during the process, he was much less certain.
“With everything going on in my life during that time, I really didn’t know what I wanted,” Peterson said.
He now does: “I’m happy with where I’m at, here with the Minnesota Vikings. . . . I’m trying to accomplish the ultimate goal, and that’s bringing a championship to Minnesota.”
Peterson addressed the incident that resulted in him missing 15 games last year, arising from discipline of his four-year-old son that resulted in torn skin and actual wounds to his son’s body. Peterson said that he apologized immediately to his son, and that Peterson has apologized to many others since then. Peterson also acknowledged that he’s “definitely not the victim, and I haven’t tried to play the victim.”
It’s now clear that Peterson is all in with the Vikings, and that the Vikings are all in with Peterson. Which is bad news for the teams competing with a team that went 7-9 last year despite not having Peterson for 15 games.