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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings are still working on their relationship.
Three people with knowledge of the visit, speaking Tuesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed that Peterson met Monday with Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman in the New York area.
That was a sequel of sorts to a trip that Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer took last Wednesday to Peterson’s home outside of Houston, a four-hour meeting that by all accounts was cordial but still left Peterson with some concerns about the organization.
“We had a great dialogue, and they were able to understand where I was coming from and concerns my family and I still have,” Peterson said that day. “We respect each other, and hopefully the situation can pan out so that everyone involved is content.”
News of the latest meeting was first reported by USA Today.
The Vikings have repeatedly said they want Peterson back. Still, for a soon-to-be-30-year-old running back, his $12.75 million salary for 2015 is a lot despite his decorated career featuring six Pro Bowl selections and a 2,097-yard season in 2012.
There’s no guaranteed money left on his contract, giving Peterson reason to proceed deliberately about his future.
The child abuse case involving injuries to Peterson’s 4-year-old son that led to an NFL suspension under the personal conduct policy has been resolved, but Peterson has expressed uneasiness about returning to Minnesota. In an interview with ESPN last month, he called the collaboration between the Vikings and the NFL to place him on paid leave the week after he was indicted in Texas “an ambush.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Peterson until at least April 15, but the league arbitrator’s denial of Peterson’s appeal was rebuked by the federal judge who heard a petition from the NFL Players Association. The league appealed to a higher court but returned Peterson to the special exempt list he spent much of last season on.
Tuesday was the day NFL teams could begin trading players, the dawn of the new league year that also signaled the start of free agency. Regardless of whether or not Peterson were to remain on the roster for 2015, the Vikings were unlikely to spend much money on a veteran running back on the open market. They’ve got Jerick McKinnon, their leading rusher last season, and a deep draft pool at the position.
The biggest move the Vikings made Tuesday was securing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s backup, following their agreement to trade Matt Cassel to Buffalo. The Vikings agreed to terms with Shaun Hill on a two-year contract worth as much $6.5 million, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement who requested anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
The 35-year-old Hill entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Vikings in 2002. He spent three seasons in San Francisco and four in Detroit before starting eight games last season in place of the injured Sam Bradford in St. Louis. Hill completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 1,657 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2014.
The Vikings also reached agreements with backup defensive tackle Tom Johnson (three years) and backup guard Joe Berger (two years), according to their agents, and announced the re-signing of running back Matt Asiata to a one-year deal. Another restricted free agent, backup offensive tackle Mike Harris, was tendered a qualifying offer to give the Vikings the opportunity to match a contract with another club.
Asiata started nine games last season with Peterson out and finished with 570 yards and nine touchdowns, tied for third-most in the league. Johnson, whose deal included $3 million guaranteed and is worth as much as $7 million, was second on the team last year with 6 1/2 sacks. The other unrestricted free agent the Vikings were expected to re-sign was veteran long snapper Cullen Loeffler.
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