"Adrian, 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. That’s just the way it’s going to be.“
Zimmer threw a big bucket of cold water on any potential trade rumors involving Peterson. The Vikings hold all the cards, so the only thing Peterson can do is sit out for the season or report to camp and pout his way out of town. His contract makes him virtually untradeable, so if he truly wants to leave, he should agree to a new, less-expensive contract as part of a trade to a new team. That way everyone can move on.
That's what a source within the star running back's inner circle told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. Despite months of overtures by the Vikings, Peterson has not wavered privately about his wish to continue his career with another franchise. Indeed, the source said Peterson believes he already made ownership and the Vikings' front office aware that he wanted a trade in face-to-face meetings this offseason.
The source, who has been a longtime Peterson confidant, told Yahoo Sports that the running back intends to sit out all of the team's offseason workouts, an act that would cause him to forfeit a $250,000 workout bonus. The longtime confidant said Peterson has not yet made a decision about sitting out of the team's mandatory minicamp in June or training camp in late July.
As it stands, Peterson does not have remaining guaranteed money on his deal. But Peterson's confidant told Yahoo Sports that this has evolved into a far more personal issue between the player and the team and is not a matter of finances. The source said that for Peterson it has "never been about the money," and that the running back is adamant about playing elsewhere.
Throwing out his one-game season in 2014, Peterson never finished outside of the top 6 on a per game basis in standard formats (or outside the top 11 in PPR) in his previous seven seasons. He's now on the wrong side of 30, but his legs should be fresh after taking a full season off to deal with his criminal case last season. He and the Vikings have had a tumultuous relationship over the past eight months, and Peterson has made inferences that he'd like to play somewhere else in 2015. For their part, the Vikings say they want him back, and his contract makes him a very difficult player to trade. This is a situation to monitor closely heading into the summer, but Peterson should be a first round pick no matter where he lands.
Dallas Cowboys site writer David Helman on how the team will use OTAs to evaluate the RB corps:
"Ever since the draft ended, we’ve heard the Cowboys say that they aren’t ruling out the possibility of adding another running back before the season. If I had to take an educated guess, I’d say they’re going to use OTAs and minicamp to take a hard look at the guys on the roster. Those practices should give them a better idea of how well they can handle it. If they aren’t confident in those four by the end of OTAs, I bet they’ll go add another guy this summer."
The move has the potential to be a game-changer for the Rams' offense, which took a player many consider the best running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. Todd Gurley should step right in and form one of the fastest, dynamic tandems in the NFL with Tre Mason, who showed flashes in his rookie season.
One player not happy the Rams added a first-round stallion to their crowded backfield is Zac Stacy. The running back who rushed for 973 yards as a rookie in 2013 tweeted (and deleted) "yikes" after the Gurley pick.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported early Friday morning that Stacy has requested to be traded and the Rams are shopping him, per a sourced involved.
Stacy is clearly on the outs in St. Louis. He was a starter heading into the 2014 season, but lost his job to Mason and now finds himself third on the depth chart once Gurley returns from his ACL injury.
The NFL's premier running back is officially back.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via a source involved, that Peterson will face no further suspension upon reinstatement. U.S. District Judge David S. Doty will decide in October how many game checks the Vikings star will lose, per Rapoport. It could be as many as three or as few as zero.
Throwing out his one-game season in 2014, Peterson never finished outside of the top 6 on a per game basis in standard formats (or outside the top 11 in PPR) in his previous seven seasons. He's now on the wrong side of 30, but his legs should be fresh after taking a full season off to deal with his criminal case last season. He and the Vikings have had a tumultuous relationship over the past eight months, and Peterson has made inferences that he'd like to play somewhere else in 2015. For their part, the Vikings say they want him back, and his contract makes him a very difficult player to trade. If he's back in Minnesota, then his 2.02 ADP in early drafts sounds about right. He has top 5 potential, but there is a lot of water that has to flow under the bridge at this point in his career.
Jerick McKinnon's undefined role hinges on whether Minnesota persuades Adrian Peterson to honor a $12.75 million contract in 2015 or trades his muddled status to another team -- abstractions that mean little to McKinnon, who refuses to dabble in Peterson politics.
He is hunting bigger game.
The ball carrier is fully recovered from back surgery that short-circuited his 2014 rookie season and eager to prove durable enough to produce over a 16-game NFL season.
"There's no doubt in my mind I can last the season," McKinnon said this week. "If that's something I have to prove, that's not a big deal for me. I'll prove it this year. I'm just really excited to get back out there with my teammates and coaches and show how far I've come since surgery."
McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR. However, he failed to score a touchdown while Matt Asiata found the endzone 10 times. If Peterson leaves town and McKinnon enters the season as the team’s primary back, then low-end RB2 numbers are within reach. In that scenario, Asiata would continue to serve as the team's goal-line back.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that U.S. District Judge David S. Doty has ruled in favor of Peterson, granting an NFL Players Association motion to vacate a previous ruling by Harold Henderson.
"Petition to vacate the arbitration award was granted," Judge Doty remarked, according to Rapoport. "Case was remanded for further proceedings ... as the (collective bargaining agreement) may permit."
The NFL says it will "review the decision" by Judge Doty to make Peterson immediately eligible. According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, the league has the ability to seek a circuit court injunction to keep Peterson from being reinstated.
Peterson's Vikings future remains murky. The former league MVP said in a recent interview he is "still uneasy" about rejoining the Vikings after the team helped expedite his placement on the Commissioner's Exempt List in September. The two sides could also reach a financial impasse -- Peterson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $12.75 million and count $15.4 million against the salary cap in 2015. Peterson has said he doesn't believe he should have to take a pay cut.
Peterson and the Vikings seem to be on the outs. He doesn't seem flexible about taking a pay cut, so the Vikings may cut him or attempt to trade him away. Peterson would likely have to agree to a restructured contract to convince another team to bite on a trade. He has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys. If Peterson is out of the way, then Jerick McKinnon would likely see the most running back touches for the Vikings, though they could add a runner in free agency or the draft. McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR.
While the Minnesota Vikings have tried to pave the way for Adrian Peterson's return to the team through numerous comments from top officials in the last week, the running back remains undecided about his future with the team.
Peterson told ESPN on Thursday night he is "still uneasy" about the prospect of returning to the Vikings in 2015, saying the organization working with the NFL to put him on the commissioner's exempt list last September made him question how much support he had from the team for whom he has played his entire career. The 2012 NFL MVP called that decision an "ambush," adding, "There were people (in the organization) that I trusted, who knew exactly what was said, that weren't heard from" in the decision-making process.
"I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back," he said. "But then again, I know the ones who don't. It's a difficult transition, and it's not just about me. I have a wife who was able to sit back and see how people in Minnesota said this and said that, how media in Minnesota took the head of the situation with my child, and were digging into things that weren't even relevant. That wasn't people in Texas -- it was people in Minnesota that dug in and brought things out. That impacted me, but most importantly, it impacted the people around me -- my family, my kids. This came from the state I love so much, that I wish to bring a championship to? This is how they treat me when I'm down and out? You kick me? My wife (and I), we've had several conversations about me returning to Minnesota, what the best options are. If I left it up to her, I'd be somewhere else today, and that's with her weighing everything. It's a lot for me to weigh; she understands that. But there are some things that I'm still uneasy about."
It sounds as if Peterson isn't happy with the way things went down last season, and is partly blaming the Vikings. In the end, it's his own fault, but he's not happy with the way the Minnesota media handled the fallout. The team wants to reduce his cap charge, but it doesn't sound like he's too interested in making amends.
Jerick McKinnon entered December with not only a spot near the front of the NFL’s rookie rushing ranks, but also a painful lower back injury.
While many of his teammates headed home after the season or to exotic locales much warmer than Minnesota, the Georgia native has stayed in the Twin Cities so he can rehab his injury at Winter Park with the team’s athletic training staff. He has only a couple more weeks left before the process is completed.
“It’s been pretty good. It’s been a long process, but that’s just the way it goes after surgery. I’ve been here all offseason working really hard,” McKinnon said last week in a phone interview. “I’ve just been in the training room with [assistant athletic trainer] Tom Hunkele pushing myself to the limit and just trying to get back ready. It’s been a long grind but it’s definitely working.”
There have been no setbacks, and McKinnon says he will be ready to participate without any limitations in the offseason workout program, which can begin April 20.
McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR. However, he failed to score a touchdown while Matt Asiata found the endzone 10 times. Asiata is a restricted free agent, so he should be back in 2015. Adrian Peterson is also under contract, but his future in Minnesota is cloudy. If Peterson leaves town and McKinnon enters the season as the team’s primary back, then low-end RB2 numbers are within reach.
The Adrian Peterson era in Minnesota may be over, and it has more to do with his contract than his legal issues. Both head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have said they would like to have Peterson back in 2015. But Peterson, who turns 30 in a few months, will carry a cap hit of $15.4 million, a league-high for running backs. And in an ESPN interview he scoffed at the suggestion that he take a pay cut to remain with the Vikings. Can he and the Vikings find common ground? Or is Peterson ready for a fresh start elsewhere?
Jerick McKinnon averaged 4.8 YPC this season, but missed several games due to a back injury. It's not an encouraging sign if the team expects him to be the feature back in 2015. As for Peterson, it's going to be very interesting to see where he lands. If the Vikings let him go, McKinnon would likely be a 4th or 5th round pick in 12-team formats, assuming the team doesn't bring another back in to compete for the RB1 job.
Musgrave was previously the offensive coordinator for Carolina (20th in yards; 21st in points), Jacksonville (12th and 21st in yards; 25th and 29th in points) and Minnesota (18th, 20th and 13th in yards; 19th, 14th and 14th in points) prior to serving as the QB coach for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. His offenses tend to perform better in the running game, but that probably has more to do with the personnel (Fred Taylor, Adrian Peterson) that he was working with. We see this as a decent hire for Derek Carr and Latavius Murray.
Echoing earlier sentiments of his head coach, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the team wants Adrian Peterson to return to Minnesota once the suspended running back is eligible to apply for reinstatement on April 15.
“I don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL that wouldn’t want Adrian Peterson on the football team,” Spielman said Wednesday at Winter Park. “If you can name me one … and I don’t want to speak for other teams. I’m being a little sarcastic with that. But I know that he’s a pretty good football player.”
“I’ll just stick by with what I’ve said,” Spielman said. “I know that Adrian is a good person, just being around him. I know he’s done a lot of good in this community. What he did — he just came out and said he made a mistake. As [coach Mike Zimmer] had stated earlier, he has to get all that in order and then we’ll proceed from there.”
This will be one of the more compelling situations to monitor this spring/summer from a personnel standpoint. Peterson is under contract and the team says it wants him to return, so in all likelihood, he will.
Vikings WR Charles Johnson turns 26 on Feb. 27 and, unlike the feeling for Cordarrelle Patterson, the assumption by the team is Johnson will continue to improve. In just 12 games (six starts) this season, Johnson finished third in receiving yards (475) on 31 catches as he morphed from “who’s that guy?” to “he’s the No. 1 receiver on the team.” Johnson’s two touchdown receptions tied for second on the team, while his 15.3 average per catch was No. 1 among players with more than nine catches.
When the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson after Week 1, they struggled for weeks without an offensive identity. OC Norv Turner said it wasn’t until after the Nov. 16 Bears game that the Vikings established an identity with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater running a spread-it-out offense over the final six games.
“Part of that was we started playing Charles Johnson, which gave us a different guy on the outside to attack,” Turner said. “It created some differences in how people defended us. I think we became a much more efficient offensive football team and put ourselves in position to win games. We won some and there were some that a year from now, put in the same situation, we’ll be ready to handle it and be ready to win.”
“Next year will be my first year to actually get my first full year to play in the NFL and two years in a row of practicing and playing in the same system,” said Johnson, who was with Turner in Cleveland in 2013, but was rehabbing his knee the whole season. “Even Norv said the first season in this system is all right, but the second season is always better.”
Johnson also said he expects to be physically stronger and faster next season. And, remember, this was a guy who ran a 4.39 at the 2013 combine.
“I’m going to be a little bit more comfortable because I am coming off ACL surgery,” Johnson said. “I can say that I’m coming off ACL surgery and not fully confident in myself. training this offseason is going to be important for me. I look forward to it.”
Johnson started playing significant snaps in Week 11, and over the final seven games of the season, he averaged 3.6 catches for 59 yards and 0.29 touchdowns. He was the #31 fantasy receiver in that span. He should continue to have plenty of opportunity to grow in Turner's offense. His ADP will likely land in the 9th-12th rounds of 12-team leagues, depending on what the Vikings do at receiver this offseason.
“Well, as I’ve said many, many times, Adrian was always great with me,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s a good person. I think obviously he’s a great running back and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that’s the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whenever the decision is made.”
“I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said. “I think the kid’s a heck of a football player. I just was watching our offensive tape, I was starting to go back right now with evaluating our players and I was starting with the offense in St. Louis, so it was a good recollection on my mind right now of him.”
Zimmer hopes there is a quick resolution from the league regarding Peterson so the Vikings can determine whether the former league MVP is someone they can build their offense around in 2015.
Peterson was suspended by the NFL after he pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May. If he stays out of further legal trouble and completes the terms of his suspension set by the league, he will be eligible for reinstatement on April 15. But Peterson will carry a cap number of $15.4 million in 2015 if he does not restructure his contract with the Vikings, something he told ESPN he feels no need to do. The front office will then have to decide whether it’s worth paying Peterson, but Zimmer thinks he can still bring value to the Vikings, the story stated.
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