PHOENIX (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings don’t plan to trade Adrian Peterson and fully expect him to be with the team for the 2015 season.
His agent and Peterson believe otherwise.READ MORE: Man, 78, Dies After Car Collides With Pickup South Of Kellogg
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was emphatic about keeping Peterson at the NFL owners’ meetings Wednesday.
“We’re good to go. I mean, he’s under contract and we expect him to honor it,” Zimmer said. “I think when he goes into the Hall of Fame, he’s going to want to go in with the jersey that everyone remembers him as. That will be as a Viking.”
Not so fast, agent Ben Dogra told The Associated Press.
“Adrian and I feel it is in his best interest, and it would be his desire, to play elsewhere in the NFL,” Dogra said. “This is not personal in any way, it is business.”
Peterson’s contract has three years remaining, with a $12.75 million salary for 2015. None of the remaining money on the deal is guaranteed.
Peterson, 30, has not yet been reinstated by the NFL from his suspension under the personal conduct policy. The star running back and 2012 league MVP has balked at returning to the team, questioning the Minnesota organization’s support of him after he was suspended for disciplining his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. The case was resolved in court with a plea bargain.
“I think we are pretty firm,” Zimmer said. “I think we handled everything the way we are allowed to handle it.
“At times we were not able to speak with him, which really is kind of ridiculous because of the (league) rules.”
Peterson currently is on the commissioner’s exempt list while the NFL appeals a federal judge’s decision to nullify an arbitration ruling that upheld his suspension.READ MORE: Four-Run Ninth Seals 9-2 Win For Twins Over Kansas City
Dogra said the standstill comes down to how the Vikings view his client.
“I would like to have their position in writing, and they have not done so,” Dogra said. “Is Adrian the face of their franchise or is he in their mind a 30-year-old running back? I want them to tell (us) that.”
Asked if he thought Peterson and Dogra were trying to force the Vikings’ hand, resulting in a trade, Zimmer didn’t hesitate in responding.
“I’m not going to speculate on what he wants and doesn’t want, but Adrian’s under contract for three more years for us,” Zimmer said. “And that’s why you sign these contracts, why you get these big bonuses.”
Dogra noted that there are no ulterior motives on his and Peterson’s part.
“I will work in the best interest of my client,” he said, adding that he and his partners at Relativity Sports, Eugene Parker and Doug Hendrickson, have nothing against the Vikings or Zimmer. “We had Shaun Hill sign with the Vikings to be Teddy Bridgewater’s backup (quarterback), and we signed Terence Newman there as a free agent so he could return to play with Mike Zimmer.”
In Zimmer’s first year as coach, Minnesota had Peterson for just the season opener, when he rushed for 75 yards in a 34-6 win at St. Louis. Then he was suspended by the league and eventually wound up on the commissioner’s exempt list while his legal case proceeded.
Zimmer praised his players’ resourcefulness without Minnesota’s best player.
“During the time it all happened,” he said, “the big thing was to try to put our heads down and move forward and keep grinding. To overcome a situation like that during the course of the year, maintaining focus, there’s some resiliency.”
He added the obvious, saying Peterson’s presence in the lineup would only make Minnesota’s offense better. But …MORE NEWS: 'This Is Historic': Lawmakers Reach Tax Cut Deal Ahead Of Session Deadline
“I try to coach the guys we have,” he said, “and figure out how to win with the guys we have.”
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