Head coach Mike Zimmer said today that he will push for the Vikings to bring back Adrian Peterson whenever the running back’s suspension ends this offseason.
“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 suspended by the NFL after he pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May. If he stays out of further legal trouble and completes the terms of his suspension set by the league, he will be eligible for reinstatement on April 15.
But Peterson will carry a cap number of $15.4 million in 2015 if he does not restructure his contract with the Vikings, something he told ESPN he feels no need to do. The front office will then have to decide whether it’s worth paying Peterson, but Zimmer thinks he can still bring value to the Vikings.
“I think he 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.”
Zimmer hopes there is a quick resolution from the league regarding Peterson so the Vikings can determine whether the former league MVP is someone they can build their offense around in 2015.
“Our hands our partly tied with the NFL and the timeframe that they give us. But also it’s partly up to Adrian and make sure he’s doing what he has to do in order to get back reinstated off the suspension,” Zimmer said. “So those are all factors that we have to factor in, but we would love to know ASAP just so that we can start going because a guy like him your football team and your offense can be different [if] you have him and you don’t have him. It’s how you want to build the team around him, at least in my opinion anyway.”
He added: “I haven’t talked to [G.M.] Rick [Spielman] about a lot of these questions that you’re asking yet because we just finished the season. But we’ll sit down and [talk] about all of this stuff.”