Mike Zimmer wants Adrian Peterson back with the Vikings
Adrian Peterson will be eligible to return to the NFL on April 15. If Mike Zimmer has his way, the running back will be in a Vikings uniform next season.
Head coach Mike Zimmer wants Adrian Peterson back in a Minnesota Vikings uniform. Zimmer said Tuesday that he would like to work with Peterson again once the running back finishes his suspension. Peterson is eligible to reinstated by the NFL on April 15. Via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
“Well, as I’ve said many, many times, Adrian was always great with me,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s a good person. I think obviously he’s a great running back and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that’s the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whenever the decision is made.”
Peterson was handed an indefinite suspension after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge in November. The plea stemmed from his indictment on child abuse charges in September. Peterson appealed the decision, but was denied reinstatement by an arbitrator. The appeal decision proved controversial. Peterson argued that he had been promised that time spent on the NFL’s exempt list would count as “time served,” and took exception to the appointment of a “neutral” arbitrator who had previously worked within the NFL’s front office.
If Peterson is reinstated at the earliest possible date, he won’t miss much, if any, of the Vikings’ offseason program. There’s a chance that time off could do some good for the soon-to-be 30-year-old running back.
The Vikings may have incentive to cut ties with Peterson, however. Peterson is due $15.4 million next season, and has been paid all but $2.4 million of the guaranteed signing bonus from the six-year deal he signed in 2011. If the Vikings wanted to drop Peterson, they could do so cheaply.
If the Vikings move Peterson, it won’t be Zimmer’s decision.
“I think [Peterson] would add value to any team, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said. “I think the kid’s a heck of a football player. I just was watching our offensive tape, I was starting to go back right now with evaluating our players and I was starting with the offense in St. Louis, so it was a good recollection on my mind right now of him.”