Vikings communicating with Peterson
MINNEAPOLIS -- Vikings officials have spoken with Adrian Peterson since last Thursday's ruling by a federal judge that enabled them to reach out to their star running back.
MINNEAPOLIS - Vikings officials have spoken with Adrian Peterson since last Thursday’s ruling by a federal judge that enabled them to reach out to their star running back.
“We’ve had open dialogue,” general manager Rick Spielman said Monday. “I’ll just leave it at that.
U.S. District Judge David Doty of Minneapolis vacated a Dec. 12 arbitration award that favored the NFL, clearing the way for Peterson to be reinstated from an NFL suspension for a child-abuse incident. The NFL filed a notice of appeal, a process that could last until June, but Peterson was moved from the suspension list back to the commissioner’s exempt list, restoring lines of communication with the team.
“l’ll just say it’s beneficial that we’re able to talk to him, just like it’s beneficial we’re able to talk to any player,” Spielman said while attending Minnesota’s pro day at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.
Peterson, who missed all but the opener last season, appears disgruntled. He told ESPN.com last month he is “still uneasy” about a return to Minnesota, and Friday released a statement that didn’t even mention the Vikings.
After Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Peterson for six games on Nov. 18, his Vikings contacts were limited to chief operating officer Kevin Warren and director of player development Les Pico, a source said.
Now, Spielman said, “We are able to have communication now with Adrian.” That includes coach Mike Zimmer.
Spielman wouldn’t reveal who in the organization has talked with Peterson since last Thursday’s ruling. Spielman said Zimmer, whom Peterson praised in the ESPN.com interview, is allowed full communication.
“We’ll keep all those communications internal,” he said. “I don’t want to sit here and give you guys a blow-by-blow every day. I think it’s been very clearly stated that we want Adrian Peterson back. There’s no question about the talent and ... he’s under contract with us.”
Peterson has three years left on his deal, including $12.75 million due in 2015, but none of it is guaranteed. There has been speculation he might be asked to take a pay cut, but the Vikings won’t comment on that.
Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, told the Pioneer Press last week that neither the running back nor any of his representatives had been approached about a pay cut and that his son has not asked for a trade. His father said he’s heard “rumors” that possible teams Peterson could be traded to include Arizona, Dallas and Indianapolis.
“It’d be nice to see him back in a Viking jersey,” said Atlanta Falcons and former Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who was at pro day Monday. “For the fans, because he’s been there for so long.”
Peterson was indicted last September on a felony charge of child abuse before pleading no contest in November to misdemeanor reckless assault. Of the 15 games he missed, he was inactive for one, on the commissioner’s exempt list for eight and was suspended for six following his plea.
Peterson has admitting to whipping his 4-year-old son in Texas with a wooden switch but said he didn’t mean any harm. After Peterson lost an appeal to his suspension, the NFL Players Association sued the league on his behalf.
Because he’s on the exempt list, Peterson is eligible to negotiate a new contract or be traded when the new league year begins March 10.
Also Monday, Spielman confirmed Minnesota wouldn’t use the franchise tag on any player by Monday’s deadline. He said the Vikings want linebacker Chad Greenway back but wouldn’t discuss his contract situation. It’s likely Greenway would have to take less than the $7 million on his contract for 2015 to remain in Minnesota.
“I think everybody knows what type of player and person he is, and we’d love to have Chad Greenway finish as a Minnesota Viking,” Spielman said of the nine-year veteran. “He’s under contract. There’s no deadline (on any contract talks). We’re under the cap.”
The Vikings are about $21 million under their salary-cap number of $149 million that was set Monday. Free agency beings March 10, but teams can begin negotiating Saturday with representatives of their own free agents.
Minnesota has 12 free agents, but none is a marquee player. Spielman said he is planning a low-key approach when free agency gets underway.
“More likely, we’ll just sit back unless something unique pops up,” he said.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service