Zimmer: A.P. can play for Vikings or no one

Head coach Mike Zimmer said Adrian Peterson will either play for the Vikings or no one at all after the star running back missed his second straight voluntary practice.



Adrian Peterson was the only player on the Minnesota Vikings not at Wednesday’s voluntary organized team activity, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the options are simple.

“Adrian, he’s really got two choices: He can play for us or he can not play,” Zimmer said. “He’s not going to play for anybody else and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

Peterson responded in a statement to ESPN later in the day.

”The reason I’m not attending OTAs has nothing to do with wanting to be traded,” Peterson said. “It’s about securing my future with the Vikings. It’s business, not personal and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings.”

Zimmer said he has spoken with Peterson since he and General Manager Rick Spielman visited him in Houston in March, but they haven’t spoken recently. Zimmer said he doesn’t know when Peterson might show up for practices and didn’t know if it had to do with his contract, but Peterson has already forfeited a $250,000 workout bonus for the offseason by missing OTAs.

“I don’t know when he’s coming, so we’ll just leave it at that,” Zimmer said.

Peterson is scheduled to make $12.75 million in base salary this season. That figure would be guaranteed if he is on the roster for the first regular-season game, but his salaries for 2016 and 2017 – $14.75 million and $16.75 million, respectively – aren’t currently guaranteed until he plays the first game of that regular season.


Players downplayed Peterson’s absence since he has missed OTAs in previous years before and been productive as ever in the regular season. Left tackle Matt Kalil pointed to the 2012 season, when Peterson’s entire offseason was spent trying to rehabilitate a torn ACL. He didn’t play at all that preseason but ended up with 2,097 yards rushing, the second-most in NFL history.

“Adrian’s got to do what he’s got to do,” Kalil said. “Obviously we would love to have him back. He’s a great player. If he came back I have no doubt he would be the best running back in the league. He’s got to handle his stuff. I’m just focused on getting better and doing what I’ve got to do.”

When and if Peterson returns, players will welcome him back, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said.

“We’re going to accept Adrian with open arms. We know what he means to this team,” Bridgewater said. “He’s done some great things in the community and some great things for this team and organization. We can’t wait to have him.”

But Bridgewater, entering his second year after a solid rookie outing in 2014, has never played a down with Peterson. Bridgewater entered last year as the backup, but he took over starting duties when Matt Cassel was injured in the third game of the season.


By then, Peterson was on the Commissioner’s Exempt List while he dealt with child abuse charges in Texas. He eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault, but the NFL suspended for the final six games of the season. Peterson has indicated that he isn’t happy with the way the team handled his situation after charges surfaced in Texas in September.

The Vikings offense would get a shot in the arm with Peterson’s return and Bridgewater having a year of experience under his belt, but …

“I don’t know what it’s like to be on the field at the same time with Adrian because I wasn’t in the starting role then, so I can’t speak on what it’s like to play with him,” Bridgewater said. “But I know the guys around here, they have nothing but great things to say about him.”

Zimmer said he didn’t know if Peterson’s absence was more about his contract or other issues, but he said he isn’t concerned about it at this point.

“It’s more about, he’s missed a lot of OTAs over the course of his career and I’m not worried about it,” Zimmer said. “I’ve got 89 guys out here that I’m coaching and trying to get better. It is what it is.”

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By then, Peterson was on the Commissioner’s Exempt List while he dealt with child abuse charges in Texas. He eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault, but the NFL suspended for the final six games of the season. Peterson has indicated that he isn’t happy with the way the team handled his situation after charges surfaced in Texas in September.\r\n
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The Vikings offense would get a shot in the arm with Peterson’s return and Bridgewater having a year of experience under his belt, but …\r\n
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“I don’t know what it’s like to be on the field at the same time with Adrian because I wasn’t in the starting role then, so I can’t speak on what it’s like to play with him,” Bridgewater said. “But I know the guys around here, they have nothing but great things to say about him.”\r\n
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Zimmer said he didn’t know if Peterson’s absence was more about his contract or other issues, but he said he isn’t concerned about it at this point.\r\n
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“It’s more about, he’s missed a lot of OTAs over the course of his career and I’m not worried about it,” Zimmer said. “I’ve got 89 guys out here that I’m coaching and trying to get better. It is what it is.”\r\n
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