The dialogue between the Minnesota Vikings and embattled, unhappy running back Adrian Peterson continued Monday.
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. General manager Rick Spielman also was part of the meeting, which was confirmed Tuesday by the team.
Minnesota has said publicly it hopes to bring back Peterson, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, next season after Peterson missed all but one game last year while he tended to charges of injuring his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list and later suspended for the end of the season.
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.
Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer traveled to Houston last week — where Peterson lives in the offseason — to meet with the running back. Spielman and Zimmer left after a reported four-hour meeting and Monday’s interaction with the Wilfs were part of a continued dialogue as the team tries to resolve the situation.
Peterson, Spielman and Zimmer were unable to make contact during the suspension, but U.S. District Court Judge David Doty furthered the situation by granting Peterson’s appeal of arbitrator Harold Henderson’s ruling. Following Doty’s ruling, the league placed Peterson back on the commissioner’s exempt list, allowing him to have contact with the team.
Peterson and the NFL Players Association had appealed to have the suspension nullified. The NFL has appealed Doty’s ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, a move which could keep the battle in the courts lingering into the summer.
The new league year begins Tuesday afternoon, and Minnesota can at least move forward with Peterson while he is on the commissioner’s exempt list. The team can trade Peterson, release Peterson or renegotiate his contract.
A meeting with the Vikings’ ownership could accelerate a possible conclusion to Peterson’s status with the team.
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.