According to a Thursday report by ESPN NFL writer Ben Goessling, Adrian Peterson remains undecided about his future with the Minnesota Vikings.
Peterson interviewed with ESPN late Thursday afternoon, speaking for the first time since appearing in Minneapolis on February 6th for a hearing in federal court — the NFL Player’s Association sued the league, arguing for Peterson’s immediate reinstatement.
Currently, Peterson cannot be reinstated until April 15th, when his status on the commissioner’s exempt list is lifted. Peterson told Goessling that he is “still uneasy” about rejoining the team in 2015, citing the Vikings’ joint efforts with the NFL to put him on that very list in September. According to Peterson, the decision was an “ambush” that left him unsure of his future in Minnesota.
The 2012 NFL MVP played one game for the Vikings last season, and is under contract for 2015 with a base salary of $12.75 million. In recent interviews, general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have expressed whole-heartedly their desire to see Peterson back with the Vikings next season.
Spielman and the organization will have a tough decision to make in the coming months, but Peterson understands the nature of the NFL:
“It’s hard to say (what my future will be). I love Minnesota. There are people that have had my back, and supported me. Last year, with the things that took place, had a lot of fans that supported me through everything. For the fans, I would definitely love to come back, but then again, it’s a business, when it comes down to business, you can’t get caught up in the loyalty to fans or to a team or anything like that. You know how it is in the NFL. I learned a lot through this process. I’m still uneasy, to be honest with you. I’m still uneasy about a lot of things that took place within the organization. Of course those guys ultimately supported me, and I’m grateful for that. But ultimately, with me being able to be on the inside and see how cards were dealt, how things were worded, this, that and the other, it’s about protecting your brand, your organization, what you have built. In the (grand) scheme of things, not one person counts over that. I get that.”
The front office has made it clear that they want Peterson back in 2015. The question remains as to whether Peterson believes that. “I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back,” he said. “But then again, I know the ones who don’t. It’s a difficult transition, and it’s not just about me.”
Peterson went on to tell ESPN that he is also considering the well-being of his family, which goes beyond endorsements or paychecks. “I don’t know if that would be the case,” he said, commenting on a potential pay cut to stay in Minnesota. “But you know, as far as being happy, as far as my family being happy, it’s bigger than that.”
The 29-year-old running back is in the midst of an almost year-long hiatus from football, which has given him time to rest and reevaluate his current situation:
“Just having the time to sit back and clear my mind, this has really changed me mentally,” he said. “My approach to things is going to be on a different level. With the things I’ve been through the last year, things definitely have more meaning. When I’m able to apply that when I’m working out and getting ready for something, it’s always a great thing. It’s always great when I’m able to put in great quality work. I’m ready to shock the world.”
Yesterday, fans were convinced that Peterson was going to step on the field a Minnesota Viking in 2015. Today, they’re left wondering what the star running back will do — return to the Vikings, or join another team and truly “shock the world”?