Spielman praises Adrian Peterson as a player, mum on running back's future

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Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman didn't offer a lot of information about the future of suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson during his talk with reporters on Wednesday, but knows A.P.'s situation will have a big impact on the Vikings offseason plans.

During an interview with reporters on Wednesday Spielman was pretty clear on his support for Peterson as a player and person.

"There's no question on what Adrian Peterson has done for this organization on the field, and what he is as a football player. I think people tend to forget, Adrian did make a mistake, he admitted he made a mistake, he went through the process in the court system.

"He is currently suspended by the NFL right now, but he's done a lot of positive things in this community as well. I've been here his whole career. I know what type of person Adrian is. But I know that we have to follow everything that's put in place for us. Is there a resolution? Not right now. All I know is where we stand today."

Peterson is suspended by the NFL until at least April 15. The NFL Players Association is suing the league on Peterson's behalf to try and get him back into the league sooner than that.

Until he is reinstated, the Vikings can not contact their soon-to-be 30-year-old running back.

ESPN notes that Peterson is scheduled to carry a $15.4 million cap figure in 2015, but all $36 million of the guaranteed money in his contract has been paid.

That puts the Vikings and Peterson in an interesting predicament. According to 1500 ESPN reporter Andrew Krammer, the Vikings have essentially four options with A.P.

  1. Move forward with the highest-paid running back in the NFL at age 30 and deal with any public backlash.
  2. Attempt to restructure by working with his agent and bring A.P. back onto the team at a more manageable price given his age and position.
  3. Find a suitable trading partner who is willing to part with what the Vikings deem as reasonable commodities.
  4. Cut Peterson outright.

"I don't know if there's a team in the NFL that wouldn't want Adrian Peterson on the football team," Spielman told reporters. "I can't speak for other teams, I'm being a little sarcastic about that."

But in an ESPN interview last month, Peterson said he didn't think he needed to take a pay cut, and it remains to be seen where he will play next season.

"I think a lot (of the offseason plan) will depend on Adrian's situation, but I also know initially, as I start putting a little bit of the draft stuff together, it's a pretty good running back class this year," Spielman said. "I think it's one of the better classes, depth-wise, in quite awhile."

NFL free agency opens in March, the NFL Draft is April 30-May 2.

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