If Adrian Peterson is reinstated and the running back wants to continue to play for the Vikings, he will be welcomed back by the ownership, General Manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer and everybody connected with the franchise.
Peterson, who is waiting for the decision on an appeal before NFL hearing officer Harold Henderson, has missed 12 games this season while on the commissioner's exempt list for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Peterson had been charged with child abuse in Texas after using a switch to discipline his 4-year-old son; he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault on Nov. 4.
The big question surrounding Peterson's possible return to the Vikings uniform is the size of his contract, which calls for $12 million in base salary this year, which he is being paid, $13 million in 2015, $15 million in 2016 and $16 million in $2017. Peterson already has been paid the $36 million portion of the contract that was guaranteed.
NFL sources claim that no team will pay the 29-year-old Peterson's current salary and predict he will have to settle for around half of his current contract if he wants to play with another club or stay with the Vikings.
Sources also speculate that Peterson's penalty will include losing a good portion of the salary he has been paid during the suspension, and that the current April 15 suspension deadline will be lifted so the Vikings can renegotiate his contract before the NFL draft in late April/early May.
But there is no doubt the Vikings want Peterson back if they can renegotiate the contract. Believe me, there is no consideration at this time to trading Peterson, and the Vikings will make every effort to keep him.
Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards in 2012 and was named NFL MVP, had a more difficult 2013, and there were some questions about his physical longevity when he rushed for 1,266 yards on 279 carries in 14 games. The 1,266 yards were the third-fewest of his career, and his 4.5 yards per carry was the second-lowest of his career.
U.S. Bank name rights?
As reported here in the past, it would be a big surprise if U.S. Bank isn't awarded the naming rights to the new Vikings stadium.
Richard Davis, president of U.S. Bank, has been close to the Vikings ownership and played a big part in raising the money (about $30 million) from the local business community to land the 2018 Super Bowl. The word is that the contract for the naming rights is in the hands of attorneys for both sides and that an announcement will be made in the near future.
The Twins trained in Orlando from 1961-1990 at Tinker Field before moving to Fort Myers, Fla. The announcement of the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl to play Missouri in Orlando brought back memories of the original dumpy Citrus Bowl stadium, which adjoined the outfield of Tinker Field. The Citrus Bowl stadium received a $207 million renovation this year.
It also is amazing to think of how the Gophers have advanced from playing in minor bowl games to a bowl game that will be on ABC at noon on New Year's Day, compared with Wisconsin (Outback Bowl, Jan. 1) and Iowa (Tax-Slayer Bowl, Jan. 2), which will be on ESPN. The Citrus Bowl is the lone bowl game to be televised nationally on broadcast TV after Dec. 27.
• Look for University of Pittsburgh football coach Paul Cryst — a former player, tight ends coach and offensive coordinator at Wisconsin — to be named the Badgers' new head coach after the departure of Gary Andersen for the Oregon State job on Wednesday.
• The Gophers' Maxx Williams was edged out by Florida State's Nick O'Leary for the Mackey Award, given to the best tight end in college football. Williams had been one of three finalists. He was, however, named to the CBS Sports All-America second team. Williams had 29 receptions for 471 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season.
• Former Gophers defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman has 12 tackles for the 5-8 Atlanta Falcons, who are still in the NFC playoff race. Hageman leads the NFL with three blocked kicks this season, and he blocked an extra-point try by the Packers on Monday night. Hageman was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying, "I'm definitely getting held a lot more, tripped a lot more. That's just part of the game. Whatever the refs don't see, put it behind you and try harder."
• An indication how much the Vikings defense has improved: The Jets went 0-for-5 when it came to scoring touchdowns once in the red zone on Sunday. Yes, the Jets are not a great team (25th in the NFL in total offense), but it still says good things about the defense. Zimmer can take a lot of credit for its improvement despite injuries to key players such as rookie linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), who has missed the past two games.
• The Gophers now have three basketball scholarships available, assuming sophomore guard Daquein McNeil is released from the program after his arrest for felony domestic assault in November. … The Gophers will learn after this semester the status of Gaston Diedhiou, the 6-9 forward from Senegal who was approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse but remained ineligible after the university's office of admissions determined Diedhiou was unprepared for academic success in late August.
• Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson missed the Lions' 17-3 victory over the Vikings in Week 6 and are expected to play this week. Bush, who didn't practice Wednesday for the Lions, did play against the Buccaneers last Sunday, but he had only eight carries for 26 yards. Meanwhile, Johnson had eight catches for 158 yards and a touchdown in the game. "We've definitely found a rhythm," said Johnson, who has been a menace to the Vikings in the past. … The Lions have won their past two games against the Bears and the Buccaneers by the identical score of 34-17.
• Mike Reilly, the Gophers forward who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL draft, will most likely turn pro after this season. He was named the Big Ten First Star of the Week after scoring one goal and tallying four assists last weekend.
• The Gophers wrestling team continues to be No. 1 in the nation in dual meet rankings but has dropped to second in tournament rankings behind Iowa, who is No. 1 with a 100.5 ranking. Minnesota is second at 96.5.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com