MANKATO – Teddy Bridgewater heard the cheers. And with his news conference having just wrapped up, he was more than happy to join in.
“AP! AP! AP! AP!”
The second-year quarterback pumped his fist in the air as he chanted along with the dozens of Vikings fans who stood waiting in the burning sun outside of Sears Hall.
Running back Adrian Peterson was one of the last Vikings to report to the campus of Minnesota State Mankato for the start of training camp. But he did show up, something that seemed far from certain just a couple of months ago.
Still, despite his NFL suspension, the animosity that had lingered with the team, his tricky contract situation and the doubt he wrestled with when it came to his Vikings future, Peterson insisted Saturday that this winter and spring he knew all along that there was a good chance he would be back here for another training camp.
“I had visions of definitely being back here,” Peterson said after signing autographs for some of the fans. “I feel like things worked out in this situation, so I’m just happy that I’m here and happy to be a part of the Minnesota Vikings organization and to get back to our goal, and that’s bringing a championship to Minnesota.”
Peterson said the renegotiated contract he signed Tuesday gave him the security he was looking for. And he appreciates the support he has received from not only the organization, but also fans like the ones who loudly chanted his initials Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a good feeling, just to know the support that I’ve been receiving through the entire process,” Peterson said moments before riding off on a bicycle to explore the campus again.
Getting to know you
Wide receiver Mike Wallace spent his summer downtime working out with a pair of notable offensive teammates. He spent “five or six days” snatching passes from Bridgewater in South Florida before heading to Houston to get in a grueling workout with Peterson.
“Oh man, he’s crazy,” Wallace said of Peterson. “I see why he’s the best.”
Bridgewater felt the workouts with Wallace were beneficial because between reps both players could communicate what they were looking for on each throw and each route run.
“We put in some quality work,” Bridgewater said. “I just can’t wait to get out there and compete in live action with him.”
Defenders on the mend
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is one of several Vikings working to return from injury. Munnerlyn, who injured a foot during the first week of spring workouts, hopes to be ready for the opening day of camp Sunday.
“Better be,” he said. “I’ve been out eight weeks, so I should be ready to roll.”
Also sidelined or limited during the spring were defensive end Brian Robison, outside linebacker Anthony Barr and right tackle Phil Loadholt. Coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t sure who would start camp on the physically unable to perform list. But he did say that Robison was good to go after straining a pectoral muscle this spring.
Barr, meanwhile, said he is close to 100 percent recovered from an offseason knee injury — it is not the same knee that he injured late in his rookie season — and that while he might “start slow” in camp Sunday, he expects to be out there.
Cornerback Jabari Price, who was suspended two games in relation to a December drunken driving arrest, apologized again for letting his teammates and the organization down.
Zimmer, meanwhile, expressed disappointment about the negative attention it brought to the team.
“We’re trying to clean up all those kinds of things with the Vikings,” Zimmer said. “We’re trying to make this a team that the fans respect, a team that our fans are proud of. Things like that happen and are not good and extremely disappointing.”