After months of drama and speculation, Adrian Peterson is back with the Minnesota Vikings. He showed up to OTAs in uniform with a smile on his face and is doing his job, the nightmare of the last year seemingly over.
The Vikings couldn’t be happier about it.
“Well, if you saw any of the video or photos from the news conference the other day when he had his news conference about coming back, I’ve never seen smiles so big on the faces of (general manager) Rick Spielman and (head coach) Mike Zimmer,” Sports Radio’s 105 The Ticket host and Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Everybody in the organization is thrilled to have him back, and I give some credit to the way Adrian Peterson handled it. He began rehabbing his image. He had about as good a news conference as you can have. He said the right things.”
Peterson took accountability for his actions from the past year: He was indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child last September after beating his 4-year-old son with a switch in Texas, was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, was suspended, and went through several contentious appeals with the NFL before eventually being reinstated in April.
Afterward, he lashed out against the Vikings, implying that the franchise didn’t have his back during this process as much as he would have liked. Last week, however, Peterson and the Vikings seemingly put all of that behind them, with Peterson coming across as a changed man.
“The one thing he said that resonated with me is when he talked about the first person that he apologized to was his son – the one that he beat with the switch,” Sansevere said. “That was something I think people needed to hear, and I got to tell you this as an side: I’ve never seen an athlete perform so poorly in a Twitter rant and then have such a strong news conference when he talked. He hurt himself some when he went on Twitter, but he got back a lot of it with that news conference the other day. There were talking points sure that he was prepped for, but he handled it as well as could be expected under the circumstances.”
Peterson’s coaches and teammates have welcomed him back with open arms – for two reasons, really: One, Peterson is really good, and two, Peterson, by all accounts, is a good guy – which is why his indictment last year was so stunning.
“As far as the Vikings are concerned, all the players love the guy and the coaches love him,” Sansevere said. “People are excited here about the prospect of what this team can do if he stays healthy and Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback – because you can’t jam the line anymore to worry about just Adrian Peterson. You got to worry about Bridgewater – because he’s going to be something special.”
The Vikings went 7-9 without Peterson and with Bridgewater last season. They lost four games by three points or fewer.
Minnesota opens the season against San Francisco on Monday Night Football on Sept. 14.