NFL: Report states Peterson will ‘never play’ for Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson's father said his son remains open to a Vikings reunion despite a rift between the estranged superstar and front office that exploded late Friday when his agent and a team executive argued publicly at the Scouting C...
MINNEAPOLIS - Adrian Peterson’s father said his son remains open to a Vikings reunion despite a rift between the estranged superstar and front office that exploded late Friday when his agent and a team executive argued publicly at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
A conversation between Ben Dogra and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski escalated into a shouting match at a downtown restaurant, a witness confirmed to the Pioneer Press Monday.
However, Peterson’s father, Nelson, denied a CBSSports.com story that Dogra made it clear Peterson would never play for the Vikings again.
“He is open to returning to the Vikings,” Nelson Peterson told the Pioneer Press. “He hasn’t closed the door (and said), ‘I won’t play for the Vikings.’ He hasn’t demanded a trade.”
Brzezinski did not return a telephone call seeking comment. A team spokesman said the club would not comment about Peterson.
Nelson Peterson sought to downplay the deteriorating relationship between his son and the Vikings, but rising tensions between player and the team cast doubt on his future in Minnesota.
The Vikings banished the 2012 Most Valuable Player in September following an indictment on a felony child abuse charge in Texas. Peterson admitted to whipping his 4-year-old son with a switch but said he did not mean any harm. He pleaded down to reckless misdemeanor assault Nov. 4.
Two weeks later, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Peterson for the rest of the 2014 season and said he could not seek reinstatement until April 15. The Players Association has sued the league to have him immediately reinstated, and a federal judge is expected to rule in early March.
During an initial hearing on Feb. 6, Peterson told reporters outside the U.S. courthouse in Minneapolis that “of course” he wanted to return to the Vikings. But last week, Peterson told ESPN.com he is “still uneasy’’ about a return because he believed there were some in the Vikings organization that tried to keep him off the field.
Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf, chief operating officer Kevin Warren and general manager Rick Spielman all have said this month they would welcome Peterson back after his suspension.
But Nelson Peterson said Monday that he and his son believe Warren worked to keep Peterson off the field last season. Warren recently was promoted by the Vikings.
“Kevin Warren was a major player in the push last year to not have Adrian reinstated,” Nelson Peterson said. “We had our sources that we knew that Kevin wasn’t working for Adrian to get him back on the field and was working to keep Adrian off the field.”
Warren did not return phone and text messages Monday.
Upon being promoted this month, Warren spoke highly of Peterson and said the Vikings wanted to win a Super Bowl with their all-time leading rusher.
Nelson Peterson emphasized Monday that his son has no problem with Vikings fans.
“Adrian was referring (in the ESPN.com article) to people that were kicking him when he was down,” Nelson Peterson said. “It’s not the fans of Minnesota; it was people like Kevin Warren and those type of people, the Cris Carter-type of person, those type of people that he felt could have came to him (and) helped him.”
Nelson Peterson was informed Carter, an ESPN analyst and former Minnesota star wide receiver who has been critical of Peterson, is not on the Vikings’ payroll. “He’s not on the Vikings payroll, but he’s still a Vikings Hall of Famer,” he replied. “He still has ties to the Vikings.”
The witness at the restaurant Friday said Warren was the subject of the argument between Dogra and Brzezinski.
“A lot of this involved Kevin Warren and the idea that they promoted someone who worked so hard against Adrian,” said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Obviously, it went downhill from there.”
The argument took place in the center of a restaurant between 10-11 p.m. The witness said alcohol was not a factor.
Spielman said last week he expects Peterson to return next season to the Vikings. Spielman would not comment on speculation Peterson might have to take a pay cut from the $44.25 million he is due in the final three years of his contract, including $12.75 million in 2015.
Nelson Peterson said nobody on the Vikings has requested to his son or to any of his representatives that Peterson might have to take a pay cut.
He also said his son has been upset with some media reports that he claimed contained inaccuracies about his charitable deeds and that haven’t been corrected.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service