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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings have started their spring strength and conditioning program.
Adrian Peterson, in one of the surest bets of the offseason, stayed away.
NFL teams such as the Vikings with returning head coaches were allowed to launch their supervised workouts at team headquarters on Monday, when a person with knowledge of Peterson’s plans confirmed to The Associated Press that the star running back did not attend.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Peterson’s absence was expected, of course, given his expressed disinterest in returning to the organization. Even in a normal year, Peterson’s presence during the offseason in Minnesota has been rare.
He spent some time there last year to get acclimated to coach Mike Zimmer and his staff, but Peterson’s preference has long been to prepare for the season with his personal trainer at home in the Houston area.
Peterson’s contract includes a $250,000 workout bonus, but he doesn’t actually start collecting his $12.75 million salary until games start in September.
The 30-year-old missed all but one game last season because of the child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son that wound up in Texas court and the league’s disciplinary system.
These days, any activity on or off the field that teams are allowed by the collective bargaining agreement to conduct during the offseason are attended by the majority of players on the roster. Coaches don’t like absences.
All that’s contractually required, however, is the mandatory three day minicamp. For the Vikings this year, that’s June 16-18. So until then, they can’t discipline him for staying away. They just want him to return, as everyone from owners to executives to coaches to players has said repeatedly throughout the offseason.
Peterson was reinstated last week by the NFL from his suspension. The Vikings have said they’re not interested in trading Peterson, but if another team were to make an offer that changed their minds any deal would likely be consummated during the draft next week.
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