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Rudolph: Zimmer's approach with AP has won him plenty of loyalty

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Friday is Mike Zimmer's birthday, and while some will probably say he already received his present earlier this week when Adrian Peterson reported for Organized Team Activities – it may not have happened without a lot of hard work from the coach.

Many around the organization, including Peterson himself, have given Zimmer credit for getting AP to report to camp. Even with all of the praise coming from others around the team, Zimmer hasn't really taken credit for it.

"I don't know, honestly. I don't know," Zimmer said to reporters after Thursday's practice. "You'd have to ask him those things. I just know how I felt. And I felt like this is one of my guys and I'm gonna support him 100 percent all the way. That's all I tried to do."

But whether Zimmer thinks he did anything special or not, it hasn't gone unnoticed by his player.

"Of course, he wouldn't think he did anything, because he doesn't know any other way," Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph told "When you have a guy like that, who's gonna stick up for his players and support his players as much as he did in that situation, as another guy in the locker room sees that, you can't help but wanna do everything to come out here and do everything you can. He'll be our head coach for a long time."

Pro Football Talk notes that it was Zimmer's straightforward approach that was the key to getting Peterson back on the field. That stance culminated at OTAs last week when Zimmer said Peterson had only two options: play for the Vikings or not at all.

"He's really got two choices. He can either play for us, or he can not play. He's not going to play for anybody else, and that's just the way it's going to be."

Since Peterson returned the Vikings have spent the better part of the week talking about how impressive he has looked during OTAs. If that's the truth and whether Zimmer had to work for it or not really doesn't matter; the fact that AP is in camp with the Vikings should make his birthday a little happier.

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