Earlier today, Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman fielded questions from the media at the NFL Scouting Combine. After publicly announcing his support for Adrian Peterson’s return this morning, Spielman addressed a range of topics, from Teddy Bridgewater’s fall in the 2014 draft to the development of Mike Zimmer’s defense.
Before taking the podium in Indianapolis, Spielman appeared on Minnesota’s local sports radio station, KFAN FM 100.3. During the conversation, he made direct, clear remarks regarding Adrian Peterson’s suspension:
Rick Spielman: "Adrian Peterson is a MN VIkings & we expect him to be with this team next year." #KFANCombine
— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) February 18, 2015
There’s no doubt that Spielman and the front office want Peterson back in 2015, but one question remains — how will the team address Peterson’s contract situation? Right now, he’s under contract for $45 million over the next three seasons, with a cap hit of $15.4 million in 2015.
When “Slick Rick” stepped on stage at 1:45 p.m. ET, he started by praising Mike Zimmer’s first year as head coach. “I want to give recognition to Coach Zimmer for the job he did last year,” Spielman said. “Mike did an outstanding job for the first time handling head coaching duties and having a significant say on what we do on defense.”
He then opened the floor to questions, and the media quickly shifted focus to Adrian Peterson. Spielman spent little time elaborating on the subject, but expressed his support for the star running back:
“Time heals things. There’s no question, our ownership has made statements, I’ve made statements, our head coach has made statements that we want Adrian Peterson back with the Minnesota Vikings.”
Spielman went on to discuss Teddy Bridgewater, who the team drafted 32nd-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft after trading back into the first round. “I’m thankful to the media,” he said. “They did him a disservice by judging him on his pro day. We spent 6 different occasions with Teddy last year,” and those different meetings convinced Spielman’s team that Bridgewater was worth the trade.
For fans curious about free agency, Spielman stated that he doesn’t believe in spending “a ton of money on free agents, unless it’s a unique opportunity”. He went on to praise Assistant General Manager George Patton and Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Monnens for finding breakout receiver Charles Johnson after the preseason.
“Charles was a pleasant surprise,” Spielman said. “We’re very excited about his potential and his ability, where he’s going to end up”.
To end the press conference, Spielman touched on the linebacker corps, which may see significant changes in 2015. “Linebacker is an area we’ll look at heading into next season,” he said. “A couple of guys are going to be unrestricted free agents. We’re very excited about where Barr is, and we’ll continue to build.”
Stay tuned for more Minnesota Vikings news surrounding the NFL Scouting Combine and the upcoming NFL Draft.