Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson rejoined the team for organized team activities (OTAs) on June 2 after a nearly nine-month absence stemming from his legal issues.
Adrian Peterson has rejoined the Minnesota Vikings.
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Peterson showed up for the Vikings' voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Mn. on June 2 after a nearly nine-month absence, per The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson.
Peterson told the media he has had enough time to think things over.
"I just wanted to (come back). I had a long time to really think about things," he told The St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday. "I've learned a lot from my mistake and I'm moving forward."
He also wrote an email to ESPN's Ben Goessling explaining his decision to return:
"I'm returning because I want to. I'm a part of this football team and I owe it to the guys I play with and to our coaches. I was planning on coming in this week, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the field. It's what I love to do."
The 30-year-old Peterson suited up in just one game -- the season opener -- for the Vikings in 2014 due to legal issues. He allegedly disciplined his son with a switch in Texas last spring and then pleaded no contest to a reckless battery charge in Nov. 2014, per Tomasson.
The Vikings deactivated him for Week 2 after he received an indictment on Sept. 12. Peterson eventually landed on the NFL's exempt list which allowed him to earn around $700,000 per game, says Tomasson.
After spending eight games on the exempt list, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him without pay for six games after he pleaded no contest to battery in November. The NFL eventually overturned that suspension after the NFL Players Association filed an appeal, per The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Adrian Peterson's first words to the media: “It actually feels good to see some familiar faces in here. Some, maybe not so much.”— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 2, 2015
He also told The St. Paul Pioneer Press he is done fulfilling the terms of his probation. He also said he has worked hard to improve his relationship with his son, and now resorts to alternative forms of discipline such as timeouts and taking away certain privileges such as toys and snacks, per Tomasson:
"I'm focused on what's in front of me and bettering myself as a person and and professionally as a player. The first person that I apologized to was my son, and that was initially, right after the situation took place, when I realized what had happened.
"I've apologized about the mistake that I've made; it wasn't my intention. I've been trying to move forward since.
"I'm definitely not the victim, and I haven't tried to play the victim. I made a mistake and I know a lot of people don't view it that way based off what they saw, but ultimately that's what it was. My son knows that; he knows that I love him."
Peterson's comeback with the Vikings comes almost a week after his Twitter rant on May 28:
Question for the people, is a contract two sided or one?— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) May 28, 2015
I know hundreds of player's that wished their team would've HONORED the contract! But instead got threw to the side like like trash.— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) May 28, 2015
Peterson's dozen-tweet rant on Twitter seems to be a response to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's statement after organized team activity (OTA) practice a day earlier.
"He's really got two choices," Zimmer told USA TODAY's Tom Pelissero on May 27. "He can either play for us or he cannot play. He's not going to play for anybody else, and that's just the way it's going to be."
Zimmer welcomed Peterson back to the team on Tuesday, saying he loves the 2012 NFL MVP.
"He's been such a tremendous, tremendous part of this organization," he told Tomasson. "I love this kid."
Peterson, who told Tomasson he's "happy where I'm at with the Minnesota Vikings" on Tuesday, seemed to be in limbo regarding his status with the team almost three months ago. His agent, Ben Dogra, said he would be better playing for another team this season.
"I didn't know if I wanted to play somewhere else, if I wanted to retire, if I wanted to go off and get into track," he told The St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Just change it up differently, just do something different."
Goessling stresses Peterson will make $12.75 million in the 2015 NFL season. He has three years left on his deal with no more guaranteed money. The Vikings have not restructured his contract, but the ESPN report says "the running back was considering a return to the Vikings after his conversations with Zimmer."
Goessling's team source told him the Vikings are not giving Peterson any assurance if they will dangle a contract extension.
For his part, Peterson declined comment on the issue, per ESPN:
"I'll leave those discussions to my agent, but any player wants to guarantee his future as much as possible. I'm focused on what I need to do on the field, what I need to do to prepare for the season."
Peterson has amassed 10,190 rushing 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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