Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told the media on May 27 beleaguered running back Adrian Peterson is "not going to play for anybody else."
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has spoken: Adrian Peterson won't be playing for another team.
Zimmer made his thoughts known to the media on the second day of the Vikings' organized team activities (OTAs) on May 27, per ESPN's Ben Goessling. Peterson has missed his second OTA in as many days.
"He's not going to play for anybody else," Zimmer told ESPN.
He put it in a different way for NFL.com's Conor Orr:
"He's really got two choices: He can play for us," Zimmer told NFL.com. "Or he cannot play."
Zimmer added he's not worried about Peterson's absence, per Goessling:
"He's missed a lot of OTAs over the course of his career. I'm not worried about it. I've got 89 guys out there that I'm coaching to try and get better.
"I don't know when he's coming. We'll leave it at that."
Goessling stresses Zimmer's words have been his strongest about the Peterson issue so far. As for the 2012 NFL MVP, he "continues to harbor resentment over how the team treated him following his indictment on child injury charges last September," per ESPN.
Peterson emphasized to ESPN's Josina Anderson in a statement his absence from OTA does not represent a grudge against the Vikings:
"The reason I'm not attending OTA has nothing to do with wanting to be traded. It's about securing my future with the Vikings. It's business, not personal and and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings."
If Peterson continues to skip the Vikings' OTAs, he will lose out on a significant amount of money.
According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson, Peterson will only be able to avail of his $250,000 workout bonus if he participates in 90 percent of OTAs and minicamps.
If he skips Minnesota's mandatory minicamp from June 16 to 18, the Vikings can fine him up to $72,920. IF Peterson also loses his workout bonus, he will lose a grand total of $322,920 during the offseason, per Tomasson.
However, a team source told The St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday the fine for missing the team's mandatory minicamp is at the discretion of the Vikings.
Vikings quarterback told Tomasson in a separate St. Paul Pioneer Press update he and his teammates would welcome Peterson back with open arms:
"We're going to accept Adrian with welcoming arms. We know what he means to this team. He's done some great things in the community here. He's done great things for this franchise and this organization. We can't wait to have him."
Minnesota tackle Matt Kalil concurred, per Tomasson:
"Obviously, we'd love to have him. He's a great pro, and if he came back I have no doubt he'd be the best running back in the league. But he's got to handle his stuff...Everyone knows what he's capable of. Coming off knee surgery and getting MVP."
Peterson has also wrestled with conflicting thoughts the past few months.
In December, he even thought about retiring when he felt frustrated about how the NFL handled his suspension. Two months later, he told ESPN he was still "uneasy" about returning to the Vikings, insisting the team has not been fully supportive.
For their part, the Vikings have refused to deal Peterson to another team. They could have done this during the NFL draft late last month but didn't, per Goessling.
Matt Kalil on Adrian Peterson “Obviously we’d love to have him. If he came back I have no doubt he’d be the best running back in the league"— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) May 27, 2015
The ESPN update adds Peterson is still under contract with the Vikings through 2017, and it appears the team is okay with the idea to wait for him to return.
On the other hand, Orr says Peterson can also opt to retire. However, this may be a far-fetched possibility for a 30-year-old running back in the prime of his career with $40 million remaining on his deal.
To be more precise, Peterson has three years and $44.25 million left on his contract, per The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Peterson confessed to hitting his then-four-year-old son with a switch last year but also said he meant no harm, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault in Nov. 2014. The NFL suspended him for the final six games of the regular season, per Tomasson.
Peterson has amassed 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns on 2,054 carries in 104 career regular-season games for the Minnesota Vikings, per ESPN stats.
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