Zimmer tells ESPN he thinks Peterson will return to Vikings


Adrian Peterson said last week a fresh start with a different team may be the way to go, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer thinks he'll be back in purple and gold next season.

Zimmer told ESPN.com Sunday that he believes Peterson will return to the Vikings when he's reinstated.

He told ESPN:

"I think Adrian wants to be back here. You have to ask him. I don't know. But I know he does have an awful lot of people here who have supported him, and I don't know who he's speaking of who doesn't.

All I know of Adrian is that he's always been great with me, always done what I've asked him to do, and I kind of go by what I see."

Peterson told USA Today last week that "Maybe it's best for me to get a fresh start somewhere else," noting sponsor and fan backlash, as well as some in the Vikings organization being unsupportive following the child abuse charges.

Last week, the NFL suspended the star running back for at least the rest of the 2014 season after his no-contest plea to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge. He is appealing the suspension, which will be heard Dec. 2.

"Throughout the whole season we've known he's been gone and I think players were disappointed with the ruling," Zimmer told ESPN. "It's really about Adrian taking care of himself. Everybody really likes this kid, feels like they hope he comes out of this thing good. So it's more concern for him than anything else."

NFL.com notes, although the Vikings seem to want him back, they're not waiting around for his return.

“I think can speak for everyone on the team when I say that we would welcome him back and be excited to have him back," Kyle Rudolph told NFL Media's Albert Breer. "At the same time, last week, we were coming off back-to-back wins and rolling offensively, so I don’t think anyone was waiting for him to come through that door. … Everyone has done a great job when some of the things get out there, not letting it affect us. We can’t get too excited.”

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