While Vikings decision-makers are taking every opportunity to publicly state they would like suspended running back Adrian Peterson to play for the team this season, Peterson himself is apparently “uneasy” about the prospect of returning the Vikings.
Peterson said in an interview with ESPN on Thursday night that he felt the team’s decision to work with the NFL to get him put on the commissioner’s exempt list in September was an “ambush” and stated that it has made him question how much support he has from the Vikings.
“It shows you can have all the loyalty toward someone and toward an organization, a fan base, but when things really shift and it’s you or the empire, they’re gonna put you out on a leash,” he said.
His comments come two weeks after he said “of course” he would love to return to the Vikings.
“I said, ‘Of course.’ I said it,” Peterson said. “But my emotions, as far as those things I feel, those are for players like [outside linebacker] Chad Greenway, those guys that play the game just like me, that have the same passion I have, the same goal I have, to win a championship. That’s where it comes from. It don’t come from the organization. I’m not in a good place when it comes to that.”
Yesterday, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he “expects” Peterson to play for the team in 2015 and predicted he would come back with something to prove. Head coach Mike Zimmer again voiced his support for Peterson this morning and vouched for him as a person.
But Peterson believes some people in the organization do not want him back, and he questioned how Vikings fans and local media treated him after he was charged with child abuse in September.
“This came from the state I love so much, that I wish to bring a championship to? This is how they treat me when I’m down and out? You kick me?” Peterson told ESPN. “My wife [and I], we’ve had several conversations about me returning to Minnesota, what the best options are. If I left it up to her, I’d be somewhere else today, and that’s with her weighing everything. It’s a lot for me to weigh. She understands that. But there are some things that I’m still uneasy about.”
Peterson also said that he has been complying with the NFL’s requirements for reinstatement from his suspension, including talking to the psychiatrist the NFL required him to speak and set up a counseling and treatment plan. Peterson is eligible for reinstatement on April 15.