Adrian Peterson will return to us: Vikings' coach
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (C) hands the ball off to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (R) behind Vikings guard Anthony Herrera (L) during the fourth quarter of their NFC, NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Minneapolis, September 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer believes that running back Adrian Peterson will return to the team once he is reinstated, ESPN reported Sunday.
Peterson has said that he may go to a different team for a change of scenery, but Zimmer thinks differently.
Last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Peterson for the remainder of the season in connection with child abuse allegations in Texas earlier this season. Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement until at least April 15, 2015, for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Peterson pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining him a tree branch. He has not played since the season opener in September. His suspension appeal is Dec. 2.
"I think Adrian wants to be back here," Zimmer told ESPN. "You have to ask him. I don't know. But I know he does have an awful lot of people here who have supported him, and I don't know who he's speaking of who doesn't.
"All I know of Adrian is that he's always been great with me, always done what I've asked him to do, and I kind of go by what I see."
Peterson told USA Today on Thursday that he may play for a different team once he is reinstated because he believes some within the Vikings organization do not support him.
"I know who loves me. The coaches and the players, it's not going to be a problem. I've felt so much support from those guys," Peterson said. "The organization, I know there's people in the organization that support me and there's people that I know internally that has not been supporting me. Maybe it's best for me to get a fresh start somewhere else."
"I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there. But if there's word out that, hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I've given everything I had in me."
Peterson has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the Vikings. Zimmer said that Peterson is well-liked by the coaching staff and teammates, and there was disappointment with Goodell's decision to suspend him for the season. ESPN reported that the team's ownership and general manager Rick Spielman have lobbied to have Peterson play this season and want him back.
"Throughout the whole season we've known he's been gone and I think players were disappointed with the ruling," Zimmer said. "It's really about Adrian taking care of himself. Everybody really likes this kid, feels like they hope he comes out of this thing good. So it's more concern for him than anything else."