Some in the Vikings organization are “privately upset” that running back Adrian Peterson opted to undergo surgery on his torn meniscus rather than play through the injury, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Per Cole’s sources, a few of Peterson’s teammates believe he could have continued performing in spite of the tear, but the “top” of the franchise — presumably the front office and/or ownership — are accepting of Peterson’s decision, and are hoping the veteran back returns in 2017.
While management may want Peterson back next season, Cole did make it clear the the club wants him back “under a new contract,” which makes sense given that he’s set to count for an untenable $18MM on the salary cap. The Vikings could clear out that entire total by releasing Peterson, as he has no prorated signing bonus or guaranteed base salary remaining. A new deal that lowers his cap charge is probably the only avenue by which Peterson could return.
Peterson’s teammates may believe that he could have played through his tear, but there’s been no indication that that is the case. Instead, a pair of surgeons yesterday told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that had Peterson opted to have the injured portion of his meniscus removed rather than repaired, he could have returned to the field in weeks, not months. But doing so could have presented problems for Peterson later in his career and during his post-football life, as such a procedure can lead to arthritis in the knee.
Peterson, 31, missed the majority of the 2014 season but bounced back last year to run for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also added 30 receptions for 222 yards.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.