NFL roundup: Comments don’t rankle Peterson
MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson said Wednesday he has something to prove to new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and his wait-and-see approach on whether the former NFL MVP is a team leader.
The seventh-year running back, in a conference call with reporters, said he has talked with Zimmer and understands his perspective as a new coach.
“I’m sure not only me, but everyone else on the team has to prove that they are leaders of the team,” Peterson said. “That is something that I take pride in.”
Zimmer, who became a head coach for the first time when the Vikings hired him in January, told a Texas radio station last week that well-known players are not necessarily team leaders.
“Obviously, you’d like to have your great players be the leaders, and it could be that Adrian is,” Zimmer told Austin, Texas, station 104.9 The Horn. “But it’s more about how the guys react with one another. We’ll take the minicamp (this spring) to try to figure out who really is the leader of the group here.”
Peterson said his production last season — 1,266 yards, down from 2,097 in 2012 — was, in part, due to what initially felt like a strained groin in a 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 3. He attributed a foot injury later last season as a byproduct to a nagging groin injury.
“I don’t come out and say that,” said Peterson, who missed two games in December. “I go out and try to get it done.”
Peterson said he initially wanted to avoid surgery but had an operation in January.
Peterson said he can’t put a date on his return, but when ready, he expects to participate in offseason workouts. The Vikings’ voluntary minicamp is April 29-May 1. Offseason workouts will be held in late May and early June.
“I can’t say I’m back right now,” Peterson said, “but I’m not far off that at all.”
Peterson welcomes Zimmer’s stance that leadership must be earned.
“That is a part of me taking care of my business when I’m away from the facility,” Peterson said. “It’s a normal routine for me. When I’m not in Minnesota, I’m taking care of my body and I’m working out extremely hard to be able to be productive for my team.”
The Vikings open the 2014 exhibition season in August with back-to-back home games at TCF Bank Stadium against the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals.
The preseason opener against the Raiders will be played the weekend of Aug. 7-9, followed by another home game against the Cardinals the weekend of Aug. 14-16.
The Vikings will finish the four-game exhibition schedule on the road, with games against the Chiefs in Kansas City the weekend of Aug. 21-23 and against the Titans in Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 28 or 29.
The Vikings will play the 2014 and ‘15 seasons outdoors at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium while they wait for their new indoor stadium to be completed in time for the 2016 season.