A Vikings contingent will fly to Texas today in an attempt to smooth things over with Adrian Peterson, and if all goes well, perhaps to convince the start running back to play for Minnesota this year. It'll be a tough sell.
USA Today reports that coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman are on their way to Houston for the first face-to-face meeting with Peterson since he was suspended by the NFL back in November. Direct contact between the team and Peterson was banned until a federal judge overturned his suspension last week.
I don't think Peterson particularly wants to come back! Last month, he spoke about how he felt "ambushed" by the team putting him on the exempt list after he was indicted on child-abuse charges, and hurt by Minnesota media pursuing the story.
"I'm still uneasy, to be honest with you. I'm still uneasy about a lot of things that took place within the organization... I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back. But then again, I know the ones who don't. It's a difficult transition, and it's not just about me. I have a wife who was able to sit back and see how people in Minnesota said this and said that, how media in Minnesota took the head of the situation with my child, and were digging into things that weren't even relevant. That wasn't people in Texas — it was people in Minnesota that dug in and brought things out. That impacted me, but most importantly, it impacted the people around me — my family, my kids. This came from the state I love so much, that I wish to bring a championship to? This is how they treat me when I'm down and out? You kick me?"
Then it emerged that Peterson's agent had gotten into a shouting match with a Vikings executive, with the agent reportedly declaring that Peterson will never play another game for Minnesota.
If he's so set on playing elsewhere, why would Adrian Peterson even meet with Zimmer and Spielman today? The Pioneer Press has a potential answer, one which doesn't bode well for the Vikings' chances of winning back Peterson's heart.
"He is only doing it because of his respect for Zimmer," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Of course, this is a business, and Peterson's 2015 team may come down to money. He's got three seasons left on his deal with Minnesota—none of them guaranteed—and is set to make $12.75 million this year. On one hand, USA Today speculates that the Vikings could guarantee one or more years left on his contract to entice him to stay. On the other hand, $12.75M is a lot of money for a running back who'll turn 30 years old this month, and who played just one game last season. Peterson may not find the likes of that offer anywhere else.