Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman met with Peterson at his home near Houston earlier this month, but that didn’t completely crystallize where Peterson stands on a return to the Vikings. Either way, Zimmer expects Peterson will be back with the Vikings.
While Peterson told ESPN last month that he was “uneasy” about a return to the Vikings after feeling his family was unfairly treated in Minnesota, Zimmer said the Vikings also paid a price for Peterson’s legal issues, which started with charges of child abuse in Texas and ended with a no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless assault.
The Vikings agreed to have Peterson placed on the commissioner’s exempt list and pay him while he was there. He missed 15 games last season, but was paid for all but six of them (the length of his suspension issued by the NFL).
Still, as Zimmer pointed out Wednesday, Peterson is under contract through 2017 and the Vikings expect him to honor that contract, with Zimmer reminding media that Peterson got a big bonus in the contract extension he signed in 2011. That seven-year contract could have been worth as much as $97.7 million and had $36 million in guarantees.
The Vikings have been trying to smooth the waters with Peterson over the last few months, and Zimmer was asked about the dance the team has gone through with Peterson.
“I mean, we’re not dancing. I’m not a very good dancer,” Zimmer joked.
Peterson has $250,000 in workout bonuses this year as part of his 2015 contract, but Zimmer said he isn’t concerned about any distraction if Peterson misses some of the offseason workouts and practices, according to USA Today.