By Scott Taylor
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer didn’t pull his punches. Granted, Zimmer was upbeat and polite when he made his pronouncement this week, but a handful of sports columnists and, I’m sure, the agent for Adrian Peterson weren’t happy about it.
Asked about Peterson’s future during a news conference at spring camp this week, Zimmer made his position quite clear: “Adrian? He’s really got two choices. He can either play for us or he cannot play. He’s not going to play for anybody else. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Now for those who haven’t been following the soap opera (and I have no criticism for those who haven’t bothered), Peterson and his agent Ben Dogra have a number of statements over the last few months suggesting they want Peterson traded sooner rather than later. When he wasn’t dealt at the draft, the Vikings made it pretty clear that he was not going to be traded.
In their view (as wrongheaded as that view might be), the Vikings didn’t have the Peterson’s back last year as he served a nearly season-long ban over criminal charges related to the beating of his four-year-old son.
Some tried to make a big deal out of Peterson not attending this week’s OTA but Zimmer just laughed and said it was not uncommon for Peterson to miss spring camp. In fact, no one could remember the last time he attended an OTA even though missing this one will cost him $250,000.
“He’s missed a lot of OTAs over the course of his career,” Zimmer said. “I’m not worried about it. I’ve got 89 guys out here that I’m coaching to try and get better.”
Just so everyone is aware, the 30-year-old runningback is signed with the Vikings through the end of 2017 and it’s pretty likely Peterson will be in Minnesota for the duration of his contract. We have been told Peterson would rather play in Dallas (did the Cowboys have his back during his prosecution – in Texas?!), but I’m not sure that’s true.
And, to be fair, Peterson is not that far removed from a 2,000-yard rushing season and an NFL MVP award. His presence on the field might also help a young Vikings team that believes it could make the playoffs this season.
To be precise, Peterson has three years and $44.25 million left on his current contract. He will be paid $12.75 million the upcoming season. That is, if he plays.
Peterson sent a written statement to ESPN on Wednesday night claiming he wants a better contract from the Vikings.
“The reason I’m not attending OTAs has nothing to do with wanting to be traded,’’ Peterson wrote in his statement. “It’s about securing my future with the Vikings. It’s business, not personal and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings.”
Well isn’t that an interesting and somewhat refreshing response? Actually, it’s the first volley in what Peterson and Dogra hope is an upcoming negotiation to re-work his contract. No doubt, he wants some guaranteed money.
Right now, we’re closer to something we’ve written about here at Game Day Gold since this entire mess began. Peterson will play for the Vikings in 2015 and for at least two years after that.
Unless, of course, some idiot general manager thinks of Peterson the same way Mike Lynn thought of Herschel Walker 25 years ago and is prepared to give the Vikings enough to guarantee the team a successful future.
I’m not sure that guy is out there, but really, who knows?