Adrian Peterson returned to the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday and said he contemplated retirement — and many other options — while he was suspended from the Vikings last season and through part of this offseason.
"With everything going on in my life during that time, I don’t really know what I wanted," Peterson said. I didn’t know if I wanted to play somewhere else or retire or run track . . . or just do something different."
After skipping the three practices last week, Peterson tweeted that he was looking for more long-term security on a contract that has three years and roughly $45 million left on it, none of which is guaranteed. He told The Associated Press that a family commitment caused him to miss the workouts but also said "it’s normal procedure for any player in my position to want to secure his future."
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Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press they have received no assurances from the Vikings that changes to his contract are on the table.
"My agent has a job to do — and he was doing his job," Peterson said when asked about whether his agent was trying to get him out of Minnesota.
The relationship between the team and its franchise player has been tense dating back to September, when child abuse allegations first surfaced. He spent much of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list while his case unfolded and he was angered by a perceived lack of support from some members of the organization, namely COO Kevin Warren.
The topic of his children came up in Tuesday’s news conference.
"I love all my kids . . . I’d run through a brick wall for them," Peterson explained. "There (are) so many people in this world that have their own opinion. A lot of people like to run with negative things . . . in this world. I’m comfortable with know my intentions and comfortable with knowing that my child loves me and he wants to be around me."
Peterson also said: "I’m not the victim, and I haven’t tried to play the victim in this role."
He added: "My son is doing well. He’s still active and very intelligent."
Peterson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for striking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch while disciplining him, and his agents initially pushed for a trade once he was reinstated from his suspension. The Vikings maintained all along they had no plans to trade the former NFL MVP, believing that his presence could help turn a team that finished 7-9 last year into a playoff contender.
Once the draft came and went last month without a deal, the focus shifted toward his contract.
The 30-year-old Peterson will have his $12.75 million salary for 2015 guaranteed in Week 1, but all bets are off after that. The Vikings declined to comment on Peterson’s decision to return to the team.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Peterson and the Vikings.
Just a week ago, there appeared to be the makings of a bitter contract dispute developing between a franchise wondering exactly what it was going to get from a player who missed almost an entire season and from a player still harboring resentment toward the league and the team for the convoluted way his discipline unfolded.
Now, Peterson said he is excited to be back and playing for head coach Mike Zimmer and this staff.
"I feel like this as a group this is the best coaching staff we’ve had since I have been here."
Peterson was the only player absent from the voluntary practices last week, prompting speculation that a prolonged holdout could be in the works.
Still, he took time to thank people that have stood by him through this process.
"I appreciate all the support from the fans. I watch the game and I see 28 jerseys. Of course Twitter, Facebook, mail … there’s been a lot of fan mail. … I just want to let all the fans know I appreciate the support through this trying time of my life. I’m appreciative."