Pur­ple with pas­sion over AP

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child-abuse case. “But I’m sure it will take a while for this to get erased out of my mem­ory.”

Peter­son was both­ered enough by the public back­lash against him last fall and what he felt was a lack of sup­port from the non-football side of the or­ga­ni­za­tion that he first balked at re­sum­ing his stel­lar ca­reer in Min­nesota.

The Vik­ings weren’t about to just let him go, though, and the pa­tience, per­spec­tive and per­sis­tence of gen­eral man­ager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zim­mer, as well as vet­eran play­ers such as line­backer Chad Green­way, helped soften Peter­son’s stance.

Ul­ti­mately, of course, the sit­u­a­tion came down to cash. The Vik­ings pledged to re­work Peter­son’s con­tract to give him the guar­an­teed money, mean­ing se­cu­rity for in­jury that his agent, Ben Dogra, was push­ing for.

“I was hop­ing he had a re­struc­ture like me. It turned out a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” Green­way, who took a pay cut to come back for a 10th sea­son, said jok­ingly.

The re­done deal was reached ear­lier this week, en­sur­ing Peter­son will make $13 mil­lion this year no mat­ter what.

“It re­ally wasn’t a ques­tion. I think it was more so about just kind of work­ing out things so both par­ties would feel com­fort­able and be happy and move for­ward,” Peter­son said. “We were able to come to com­mon ground.”

The Vik­ings had the lever­age in the ne­go­ti­a­tion, ex­cept for their de­sire for team har­mony and ex­pres­sion of trust in a player many other or­ga­ni­za­tions might have let erode dur­ing the tu­mul­tuous or­deal that stretched from mid- Septem­ber un­til early June, when Peter­son fi­nally ar­rived for some of the off-sea­son prac­tices.

“We’ve been through a lot. He’s been through a lot. But to have him back, to have him just fo­cused on football and us just fo­cused on football, we’re look­ing for­ward to see­ing him run around out there,” Spielman said.

“I think re­siliency would be a good way to de­scribe get­ting through ev­ery­thing, know­ing in the end what is right.”

Peter­son wore a broad smile as he walked up to the build­ing.

“My body feels great. Men­tally I’m stronger than I’ve been ever be­fore. I’ve just got a dif­fer­ent mind­set when it comes to just life in gen­eral and football, too,” Peter­son said. “With that, I know it’s go­ing to make me a bet­ter player.”

The Vik­ings are count­ing on Peter­son be­ing fresh from the long lay­off, so while he prob­a­bly won’t play in any ex­hi­bi­tion games per past prac­tice, he’s on track to take a full share of the rep­e­ti­tions with the first-team of­fence through­out camp.

“I’ll prob­a­bly have to hold him back more so than push him,” Zim­mer said.

The same could be said for the ex­ter­nal ex­pec­ta­tions of this team, now that Peter­son has re­turned to the fold. Quar­ter­back Teddy Bridge­wa­ter is com­ing off a de­cent fin­ish to his rookie year, and the im­pact of Zim­mer’s strate­gic and teach­ing abil­i­ties on the de­fence was sig­nif­i­cant.

“It’s nice to have peo­ple say nice things about you,” Zim­mer said, “but at the end of the day if you don’t go out there and work, which we have to do dur­ing prac­tice, if we don’t go out there and work the way that we have to in the games and be on point with ev­ery­thing that we need to do, then they’ll be say­ing the ex­act op­po­site very quickly.

“So I think they’ll un­der­stand those things, and it’s part of sports.”


Min­nesota Vik­ings run­ning back Adrian Peter­son signs au­to­graph as he re­ports to train­ing camp at Min­nesota State Univer­sity on Satur­day.

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