Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is finally going to get a chance to make his pitch to Adrian Peterson in person.
Zimmer is scheduled to fly to Houston for a Wednesday meeting with Peterson to discuss the embattled superstar’s future with the team, two people with knowledge of the plan told USA TODAY Sports.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman also is expected to make the trip, said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the fluidity of the situation.
Barring a last-minute change of plans, it’ll be the first face-to-face meeting in months — direct communication that was barred until last week, when a federal judge ruled in Peterson’s favor and the NFL moved the 2012 MVP from the suspended list to the commissioner’s exempt list.
The visit to Houston recalls memories of the Vikings’ trips to Hattiesburg, Miss., years ago to talk legendary quarterback Brett Favre into playing another season. This time, there’s no question Peterson wants to play. It’s a matter of where.
Peterson, 29, has expressed reservations for months about him and his family returning to Minnesota after last year’s controversy. He hasn’t asked for a trade or issued any ultimatums, but it’s unclear to what degree, if at all, Peterson is open to coming back.
Zimmer, who’s now entering his second year as coach, was more vocal than any other team official in supporting Peterson during his time on the exempt list and suspension last season. So, Zimmer might be the Vikings’ best shot at bridging the gap.
For now, Peterson belongs to the Vikings, who have him under contract through 2017. His scheduled $12.75 million base salary and $250,000 workout bonus in 2015 aren’t guaranteed.
All indications are he won’t consider a pay cut, and it seems unlikely the Vikings would ask at this point anyway. If anything, guaranteeing one or more of the remaining seasons on his deal, perhaps with upside to earn more through incentives, might be necessary to entice him.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Tom Pelissero