While the general consensus as recently as a few weeks ago suggested that Adrian Peterson‘s time in Minnesota was probably over, members of the Vikings’ brass have been going to bat for the embattled running back lately. Today, Vikes general manager Rick Spielman became the latest key member of the organization to suggest he wants to see Peterson wearing purple again in 2015, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press details.
“I think our whole organization is on that same page (about wanting Peterson back),” Spielman said. “What team wouldn’t want an Adrian Peterson talent? He’s a unique player that you don’t see come around too often and Adrian’s been a key part of our organization. He’s made a mistake. He’s doing everything and he’s got to follow through and rectify and do the things the NFL is requiring him to do.”
Peterson and the Vikings are in a tricky situation, given where his suspension and his contract currently stand. The team isn’t allowed to be in contact at this time with the running back, who isn’t eligible for reinstatement until at least April 15. Once he’s reinstated, Minnesota will likely want to address his contract, since Peterson is currently on the books for a $12.75MM base salary and a $15.4MM cap hit.
Since the free agent period begins several weeks before Peterson is eligible to be reinstated, most teams will have already completed their major offseason roster moves by that point, meaning the running back’s leverage will be reduced. That may be one reason why the Vikes are leaning toward bringing him back — AP may be more inclined to take a pay cut or restructure his deal if there aren’t many other legit suitors out there for him, particularly if Minnesota continues to publicly support him while he serves the suspension.
Besides addressing Peterson, Spielman also said today that he likes Matt Cassel, but wouldn’t commit to whether or not the Vikings have decided to bring him back as their backup quarterback for 2015, tweets Tomasson.