Vikings owner Mark Wilf said ownership spoke to Adrian Peterson on the phone “a couple of times” following his release and in person after the 2016 season.
“It’s all good there with Adrian,” Wilf said today during a break in the annual league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore hotel in Phoenix. “A lot of good memories, and I know he’s got a lot of great football left in him. He’s brought us and our fans a lot of thrills over the years.”
Peterson became a free agent when the Vikings opted not to pick up the $6 million option on the final year of a contract that would have paid Peterson $18 million this season. Peterson remains a free agent.
“Adrian is one of the greatest Vikings of all-time,” Wilf said. “We have a lot of respect for him. The day we drafted him to today, he’s really one of the greatest Vikings of all-time. We have a lot of respect for him and we know he’ll always be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family. And he knows that. We’ve told him that personally.”
Wilf was asked who would replace Peterson as “the face of the franchise,” something the star running back has been since the day he was drafted in 2007.
“We want our face of the franchise to be a Lombardi Trophy,” Wilf said. “That’s what drives us. Obviously, we have a tremendous core of great young talent right down the line. We’re very pleased with our quarterback, Sam Bradford, and on the defensive side with so many great core players. We’re building a roster that has a lot of playmakers.”
Wilf also talked about the well-publicized tweet by Riki Ellison, the father of former Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison. After Rhett signed with the Giants, Riki tweeted that the Vikings had “toxic leadership.”
Asked how much that tweet concerned ownership, Wilf said, “None at all from ownership. Not really sure where that comes from. I know how close coach [Mike] Zimmer and our GM Rick Spielman are and how great the work together and they communicate from us. From our perspective, I’m not really sure what Mr. Ellison’s perspective is.”
And Wilf also talked about Monday’s vote that allowed the Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The Raiders became the third team to relocate in the past year.
“[Relocation] is never good, I think,” he said. “We try to minimize the fact of moving around. We’re very pleased that we were able to get a solution done in Minnesota with a great public-private partnership [for U.S. Bank Stadium].
“The oakland situation was not really a viable path forward there. We are sympathetic to the fact that Oakland is losing a franchise, but on the other hand I think Las Vegas and that market is going to be a good market for the NFL.”