There was a flurry of Vikings noise and news on Thursday when the team put newly promoted Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren in front of a speaker phone.
Warren, formerly the team’s legal counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, last made headlines in November when reports surfaced that he was opposed to Adrian Peterson returning to the Vikings and that he was actively working against it.
With Warren’s promotion came the opportunity to clear the air, or perhaps perform some strategic posturing, in regards to the ongoing Peterson saga.
“Our organization and individuals in our organization from Zygi Wilf to Mark Wilf to Coach Zimmer to Rick Spielman have made it very clear that they all would welcome Adrian back once he gets all of the open items resolved with the league and I feel the exact same way,” Warren said on Thursday, contradicting those reports from 2014.
“Adrian has spent his entire career here and he has not only been an absolutely phenomenal football player and a joy to watch,” he continued, according to 1500ESPN. “Also, he’s been a phenomenal individual in our community; he’s done so many good things that the public and media have heard about and then there are a lot of other things that he does on a very quiet and personal basis and so from my feelings about Adrian, I have great respect for him as a football player and a person. He’s part of our Vikings family.”
“I would welcome him back with open arms. As I said, I don’t think he left anywhere; he’s still a member of our team. A lot of the issues or a lot of the things that have been said, it’s probably not appropriate to even comment and respond to things that have been said or whatever, but I can tell you my feelings about Adrian are very positive. They’ve been very positive every day that he’s been here with the Vikings. I look forward to having him have an opportunity to play again and as Mark Wilf said yesterday, once he gets everything resolved and is in a position to play, he’s an absolutely incredible football player and he’s a great community ambassador and he’s been great for the game of football. I hope that he finishes his career here in Minnesota; I hope we can win multiple Super Bowls together and I hope I can attend his Hall of Fame induction in Canton one day many years down the road.”
I wrote back in December that the top priority for the Vikings this offseason would be to make sure Adrian Peterson makes the 2015 team better, either via a return or a lucrative trade, and Warren’s statement can only help one of those two scenarios take place.
The homer in me would like to take Warren’s words at face value. The skeptic in me wonders if this is an attempt to boost Peterson’s trade value. Either way, we’ve come a long way from the “they will have to cut him” talk that people spewed throughout October, and this is just the beginning of the end for this wild Vikings storyline.
Warren is entering his 11th season with the Vikings and his 17th year in the NFL.