By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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Adrian Peterson is ready to return to the NFL, but he’s not too sure about coming back to Minneapolis.
In an interview with ESPN on Thursday, the running back said he is “still uneasy” about rejoining the Vikings after the team helped expedite his placement on the Commissioner’s Exempt List in September.
“There were people (in the organization) that I trusted, who knew exactly what was said, that weren’t heard from,” as the team pondered its next move with the back, Peterson said. “They weren’t able to do anything about it.”
Peterson hasn’t taken the field since his suspension and subsequent placement on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. He played just one game in 2014, and although the Vikings brass — president Mark Wilf, COO Kevin Warren, general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer — have said they want Peterson back in Minnesota, A.P. doesn’t sound so sure.
“I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back,” Peterson 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.”
Peterson — who has yet to be reinstated by the league, and is involved in a suit filed by the NFLPA on his behalf — elaborated on the disdain felt for Minnesota at his lowest point as a professional.
“This came from the state I love so much, that I wish to bring a championship to?” Peterson said. “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.”
Minnesota would very much rather have Peterson in its starting backfield than Matt Asiata or Jerick McKinnon. With the running back under contract for 2015 with a base salary of $12.75 million, the Vikings would have to either trade or release Peterson, if a breakup is what he desires.
The Vikings have tried to mend fences, with Spielman and Zimmer reaching out to Peterson to no avail, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, per people who have spoken to Peterson. The back wants a fresh start and his lack of trust in the Vikings is a major issue, with a divorce increasingly a possibility, Rapoport added.
The majority of the NFL’s teams would likely also welcome Peterson with open arms into their backfield. With Peterson leaning toward wanting to play elsewhere, those other teams might get a chance to add him.