The Minnesota Vikings will not release Adrian Peterson, the star running back’s agent told FOX Sports 1 NFL Insider Mike Garafolo on Wednesday night, leaving Peterson’s return to the team up in the air.
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, said he was informed of the Vikings’ decision by general manager Rick Spielman in a phone conversation Wednesday. Dogra then made the following statement to FOX Sports: "It was important for me to relay the position the Vikings are taking to Adrian. I want to make sure there is absolutely no confusion whatsoever."
Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, flew to New York on Monday and met with Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, who live in New Jersey. Spielman also was part of the meeting, which was confirmed Tuesday by the team.
Minnesota has said publicly it hopes to bring Peterson back next season after the franchise’s all-time leading rusher missed all but one game last season while he tended to charges of injuring his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list in mid-September, then later suspended for the season on Nov. 18, two weeks after he reached a plea deal and pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.
Peterson, in limited media exposure, has expressed uneasiness with the team because he feels he wasn’t supported by some members of the organization while he went through his legal case.
Earlier this month, Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer traveled to Houston, where Peterson lives in the offseason, for a reported four-hour meeting. Peterson, Spielman and Zimmer were unable to make contact during the suspension, but U.S. District Court Judge David Doty lifted the suspension on Feb. 26 when he granted Peterson’s appeal of arbitrator Harold Henderson’s ruling. Following Doty’s ruling, however, the league filed an appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and placed Peterson back on the commissioner’s exempt list, a move which allows Peterson to have contact with the team but could keep the battle in the courts lingering into the summer.
Minnesota can at least move forward with Peterson while he is on the commissioner’s exempt list. The team can trade Peterson or renegotiate his contract.
Peterson is signed for three more seasons. He’s due to make $12.75 million in base salary in 2015 and also has a $250,000 workout bonus, none of which is guaranteed. If Peterson was released, he would count $2.4 million against Minnesota’s salary cap as part of his prorated signing bonus from the contract he signed in 2011 making him the league’s highest paid running back at the time.
FOX Sports North’s Brian Hall contributed to this report.