Adrian Peterson Reveals Why He Left Vikings

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He was agitated by the coaching staff’s insinuation that he wasn’t fully committed.

Adrian Peterson Reveals Why He Left Vikings

That’s what sparked Adrian Peterson’s exit from the Minnesota Vikings after the 2016 season. Put plainly, the coaching staff at the time wanted Peterson to play in two meaningless games at the end of the season, and Peterson, still recovering from injury, didn’t understand the reasoning.

Adrian Peterson
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For context, Minnesota still had a shred of playoff hope entering Week 15 — when Peterson returned to play — but had its doors blown off versus the Indianapolis Colts in one of U.S. Bank Stadium’s most embarrassing defeats. Thereafter, with the Vikings eliminated from postseason contention, Peterson didn’t see the virtue of playing through injury or possibly re-aggravating his recently recovered meniscus tear.

According to Peterson, Mike Zimmer and Co. apparently disagreed, believing Peterson should’ve played — even if playoff hopes died during the loss to Indianapolis.

Dalvin Cook & Adrian Peterson
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In a lengthy explanation to The Courtside Club Podcast, Peterson told all, “Long story short, ‘the odds’ again … I overcame what ‘the odds’ were saying, and I was able to come back. We were playing the Colts, and we needed to win out, like we had point-something percent chance, but any chance we had, I was going to play, that’s the mentality I have, you know, whatever chances we have, I’m ridin’ with it.”

“We end up losing that game. I came back out there and, you know, I played decent … didn’t really play too well, you know, it had been a while. And that loss pretty much eliminated us from playoff contention. The next week, coach wanted me to play again. I was like, ‘Coach, I just came back from tearing my meniscus. It’s my first game. We have no chance to make the playoffs. Why would I get out there and risk hurting myself?” Peterson explained.

Adrian Peterson and Anthony Harris
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Peterson left the Vikings a few months later and signed with the New Orleans Saints.

He continued, “That was 2016, and my contract was up too, you know, so I could have easily been like, ‘I’m just gonna shut it down in Week 3 after the injury and just, whatever, recover’. But that’s not my mentality. And he challenged me. He was like, ‘Well, I feel like, if you was able to play last week, then you’re able to come out and play now’.”

“And I was like, ‘I would do that if we really had a chance to make it to the playoffs, but we don’t, and I’m not gonna go out here and risk hurting myself for a pointless game.’ And he was like, well I just rather you had not played last game’, and this, that and the other,” Peterson told The Courtside Club show.

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Peterson is now 39 and claims he still wants to play in the NFL, though that ship has probably sailed.

He finished the interview segment with more details about 2016: “That’s the first time that a coach has really just rubbed me wrong with challenging me, when it comes to what I’ve been doing since I was 7 y/o, playing the game that I love. And that’s what rubbed me so wrong because here I am, the face of the franchise, I dun scratched back after your staff and your professionals had told you that, ‘you know what, he’s not gonna make it back in time and ya’ll should just sit him.'”

“I scratched back because that’s the love I have for the game, and you’re gonna disrespect me like that? I was through with him after that. I was like, alright man, whatever,” Peterson finished.

After the Vikings and Saints, Peterson later played for the Arizona Cardinals (2017), Washington Commanders (2018-2019), Detroit Lions (2020), Tennessee Titans (2021), and Seattle Seahawks (2021).

Peterson also tried boxing in 2022, losing an exhibition match to fellow NFLer Le’Veon Bell.

Zimmer, on the other hand, landed with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason as the club’s new defensive coordinator.

Here’s the full Peterson clip:

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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