There have been more than few players who are looking to lock down long-term contracts that have held out of the early days of training camp, including running backs like Frank Gore and Chris Johnson. Adrian Peterson missed three days of camp, but it had nothing to do with a contract squabble.
Peterson joined the team for the morning walk-through practice Friday, returning from Houston where he witnessed the birth of his son – Adrian Peterson Jr., who A.P. said would be called "Deuce."
He said it has been a whirlwind few days for the Vikings star running back. He said he was glad to have spent quality time with the son he welcomed into the world, but added it is time to get down to business, doing what he does at a level few others can.
"It's been pretty exciting spending time with my son," Peterson said. "It was fun to just sit back and hold him and the whole experience, but I'm back here, I'm focused on football and I'm ready to get the ball rolling."
Unlike the other players who have let contract discussions get in the way of their reporting to training camp, Peterson said it was never an issue in his mind. While he would prefer to have a long-term deal done that will give him the long-term financial security he seeks, he said he isn't letting any contract issues get in the way or serve as leverage to get a new deal done. He said he will honor his contract obligations and let the people he has hired to handle such matters iron out the details.
"I'm comfortable where I'm at and I'm committed to my deal," Peterson said. "Obviously, it's the last year of my deal, so I have guys that take care of that for me – my agents Ben Dogra and Tom Condon. I let those guys handle that. For now, I'm focused on football. I'm not aware of my contract at all. My main focus is doing what I can do, learn this offense and help the Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl."
Peterson is slated to make $10.72 million in base salary this year and count $12.775 against the salary cap with the prorated portion of his signing bonus included. He said other players have made the decision to hold out, but he is satisfied with his current deal and the thought never crossed his mind to sit out until ink went to paper.
"To each his own," Peterson said of the other holdout players. "There are different situations for different guys. I'm not really hurting for anything. I'm comfortable in the position that I'm in and I'm ready to play ball. It wasn't a decision I had to sit back and ponder on – if I want to hold out or do this or do that. I knew when training camp starts, I was going be there."
Just as Peterson was peppered with questions about his fumbling problems in 2009 when the 2010 training camp began, this time he was asked about unfortunate comments he made in March comparing the NFL to slavery. While taking full responsibility for the backlash that came from the comments, Peterson said his quotes were taken out of context, but added that he was the one who put it out there and allowed it to be taken out of context.
"I regret using those words, because obviously there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that you can compare to slavery," Peterson said. "It stands alone. I should have used better wording to put that out there, but it's spoiled milk, it's old and it's over with."
Peterson wants to put the furor over those comments behind him and his focus is on digesting the new offensive playbook. He said he's excited about the prospects of the new offense, which incorporate the running backs much more in the receiving game – lining up in the slot and occasionally being split wide. He said it will take some getting used to, but he's ready for the challenge.
"There are a lot of changes," Peterson said. "Obviously, there's different terminology. The running back definitely has to do a lot more [in this offense] and I'm excited about it. [There are] different formations and different looks that the running backs have outside of the box. I'm excited to get this instilled into my mind, get out there on Sundays and showcase the new Vikings offense."
Peterson didn't say there was a deadline to get a deal done, but seemed optimistic something will get worked out. Asked if he wants to be career Viking, Peterson said that decision doesn't lie solely with him and that, one way or another, things will work themselves out.
"I'm going to sit back and let the chips fall where they may," Peterson said. "The only thing I can do is control what I can control – that's coming out and making sure that I'm prepared and I'm doing everything I can do to help this team win. That's been my focus for four years and this fifth year is going to be the same."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Peterson focused on football, not contract
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