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.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 6:44pm
Bostick has talent but was never able to stay healthy and put it together in Green Bay.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 3:28pm
Browns writer Tony Grossi: Bumped into former Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner and one of the more depressing things he related was that Charles Johnson is “far and away our best receiver” on the Minnesota Vikings.
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 Norv Turner's offense.
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.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made that clear, as part of his season-ending press conference Tuesday at the team's practice facility. Zimmer said the team was fortunate to learn as much as it did about Bridgewater, and his improvement throughout the year should be a sign of encouragement. Zimmer was asked if he'd talked to veteran Matt Cassel, who has one year remaining on his contract, about the possibility of taking a backup role.
He said that he hadn't, and then he gave the rookie his endorsement.
"Teddy is the quarterback, there's no doubt in my mind," Zimmer said.
Bridgewater finished with the third-highest completion percentage for a rookie quarterback, surpassing Russell Wilson's strong 2012 rookie season. Bridgewater also finished 10th in the NFL in deep-pass accuracy. And more than 75 percent of his passes found their target when he was under pressure this season, the best rate in the league. Bridgewater will be on the QB2 radar when 2015 drafts come around.
“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.
In desperate need of a feature back with Le'Veon Bell's immediate future uncertain, the Steelers are working out former Texans, Vikings and Browns running back Ben Tate, ESPN reported Tuesday morning.
If the visit goes well, they are expected to sign the 26-year-old, once thought to be the best running back on the open market back in March.
Some inside the Steelers organization are doubtful that Bell will make an appearance on Saturday in prime time against the Ravens, which would make the need for an all-purpose back like Tate that much greater, the story said. The piece went on to say that in some respects, this is the ideal opportunity Tate has been waiting for. Just like former Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount knows, strong playoff performances can change perception, and after getting cut by two teams in less than a year, Tate is longing for that opportunity. The Ravens do present a tough matchup however, as they are ranked third in allowing fantasy points to RBs.
Cordarrelle Patterson repeatedly said today that he plans to take “full advantage of the offseason,” although he couldn’t provide a clear explanation of what exactly that entails.
Big things were expected of the second-year wide receiver in 2014, but he disappointed in the first half of the season, lost his starting spot in the second and finished with just 33 catches for 384 yards and one touchdown. Now Patterson must prove himself all over again in 2015.
“It wasn’t the year I wanted, like I had last year,” Patterson said. “I feel like last year was a good year for me and I felt like I was going to come back and capitalize off that. Week 1, you know, things was good. But after that, it just started going downhill. I blame myself for everything. I need to just take full advantage of the offseason and get better.”
What exactly will you do to take “full advantage” of the offseason?
“Just resting at first, getting the body healthy. Spending time with the family. And just take full advantage of the offseason, just training and get the offense down pat,” he said. “Just learn it, try to take on the playbook and all the stuff we worked on throughout the year and just try to learn from that, man. Like I said, this isn’t the year I thought it was going to be. It was a bad year for me. So this offseason, it’s going to be a challenge for me to make sure I come back ready to go next year.”
As the story points out, it’s obvious that Patterson knows — or has been told — that his offseason preparation needs to change for him to ever live up to expectations. The story went on to say that Zimmer has a plan for Patterson and "it's up to Cordarrell." However, based on Patterson's comments, Patterson may not be aware of the plans yet. Patterson was a fantasy bust this year and probably scarred a lot of owners for life. He will fall in drafts next year, but certainly still has potential. This will be a key offseason for him.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Vikings RB Matt Asiata (foot, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 17. Asiata is averaging 19.3 touches for 71 total yards and 0.75 TD in his last four games, and has a nice matchup with a fading Chicago defense this week.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Vikings WR Greg Jennings (hamstring, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 17. Jennings has four touchdowns in his last five games, and has a nice matchup with Chicago (8.1 YPA allowed, 2.2 pass TD allowed).
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