Running back Adrian Peterson admitted he was surprised by the Vikings' decision today to release wide receiver Bobby Wade.
"I don't know why or anything," Peterson said of the reasoning behind the move. "That's something you have to take up with the coaches. But I guess it's done to benefit the team he said."
The Vikings signed wide receiver Greg Lewis, released earlier this week by New England, to take Wade's spot on the roster. Lewis played for the Eagles when Vikings coach Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator.
"I think the biggest thing obviously is coach had familiarity with Greg," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "I think Bobby Wade did an outstanding job for us. He did everything that we asked. He's a competitor. He worked hard, he made plays for us. I wish him the best."
Bevell said Lewis has the ability to play all the wide receiver spots; Wade was most effective as a slot receiver, a role that is going to go to first-round pick Percy Harvin. "It's a guy that we're able to bring in that can fit in quickly because this system is familiar to him," Bevell said of Lewis. "When you're talking about four or five receivers that are going to be up on game day at any point somebody can go down and now you have to move them and play a different spot. He has speed. ... There's a lot positives to him."
Wade led the Vikings in receptions the past two seasons and Bevell knew this was a tough move.
"Obviously, there's the business side of things and there's the personal side of things," he said. "You get close to a lot of players, you end up having all different kinds of relationship. Guys do a great job for you, make plays for you but the bottom line is to always to try and improve the team and bringing in the best pieces that you can bring in to put the best team on the field. Sometimes guys roles get elevated because guys get hurt, sometimes guys roles get pulled back a little bit because you get a new piece to the puzzle. Those can be tough decisions to make but again it always goes back to trying to do what's best for your team."
Players in the locker room seemed surprised by the move, especially considering Wade agreed to cut his salary in half last week. Wide receiver Bernard Berrian wore Wade's jersey during pre-practice meetings. Asked if that was his show of support for Wade, Berrian said, "Always. Definitely is."
"Very difficult more so knowing that he is a good player," Berrian said.
Berrian admitted that it makes it more difficult to see Wade leave considering that he agreed to restructure his deal.
"Definitely a lot harder," he said. "And then he still ends up getting released. But you know it might turn out to be a better situation for him and he'll probably become a great addition on somebody else's team."
Here is more reaction from the locker room.
'It's a big shock to us," running back Chester Taylor said. "He was a great receiver and a great leader. But we have to move on. He was a team player. He did whatever he can to help our team win. Everybody liked him in the locker room. He will be missed."
Kicker Ryan Longwell sat next to Wade in the locker room the past few seasons.
"It's just the brutal side of the business," Longwell said. "He was very popular in the locker room and a guy everybody liked. You know, just the tough side of the job. We all know the business side. We're all looking over our shoulders. I've been doing it for 13 years. But when the reality strikes, it's kind of crushing.
"We don't know all the facts but what we do know is he restructured to take a pay cut to stay here and then this happens. It's sad. He was as good friend. He was my locker mate. We had a lot of good banter back andf forth. It's just a sad reality to the business."
Wade's agent, Jerome Stanley, sent a one-sentence text about the Vikings decision that read: "I believe your behavior defines who you are."