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Spielman Expects Peterson to Return, Prove a Point

In 2012, Adrian Peterson was a man on a mission, determined to show that he could overcome a severe knee injury the previous December.

He became the third Viking to ever claim NFL MVP honors while rushing for 2,097 yards in a chase for the all-time record.

Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall reported from the 2015 Scouting Combine that there is quite a bit of buzz on what the future has in store for Peterson, who is currently serving a suspension issued by Commissioner Roger Goodell that is scheduled to last until April 15.

General Manager Rick Spielman said during a podium media session, "I would expect when Adrian Peterson comes back, he's going to come back with a point to prove to everybody."

Spielman told beat reporters earlier in the day that Peterson has been "a key part of our organization" who made a mistake and must "follow-through and rectify and do the things the NFL is requiring him to do, and we expect Adrian Peterson to be part of our football team."

The NFL Players Association appealed the suspension on Peterson's behalf on Feb. 6. After the hearing, he said "of course" he wants to remain with the Vikings, and team Owner/President Mark Wilf said last week that the team would welcome Peterson back, pending the status with the NFL.

Spielman added during his podium session that he's seen first-hand the work that Peterson has done in the community since he was drafted with the seventh overall pick of 2007.

"I've been around Adrian his whole career," Spielman said. "I know what type of person he is. I know what he stands for. He does a lot of great things in the community. I know where his heart is. He admitted to his mistake, but also I know it's time to move on and move forward. I think our ownership, I have made statements.

"As you go through this, time heals things," Spielman added. "People judge right away, but you have to look at what type of person he is and look at the whole picture and a lot of the great things he has done off the field for charities and our organization."

Peterson appeared in the 2014 season opener, rushing 21 times for 75 yards in a 34-6 win at St. Louis, but was deactivated before Minnesota's Week 2 game against New England. He was later placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List before the suspension was issued.

Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner was asked by KFAN's Paul Allen and Paul Charchian Wednesday in Indianapolis about Spielman saying the Vikings expect Peterson's return to Minnesota.

"If that's what Rick said. I mean he's privy to a lot more inside information than I am," Turner said. "You get me excited when you start talking about him. I think everyone on our staff, the players, everyone involved with the organization would be thrilled if Adrian would be back."

Turner and Vikings players had to modify their approach after Peterson was sidelined, incorporating a combination of Matt Asiata (164 carries for 570 yards and nine touchdowns) and Jerick McKinnon (113 carries for 538 yards), a third-round pick in 2014 who excelled at last year's combine.

Many believe Peterson's absence created a ripple effect across the Vikings offense. Turner said Cordarrelle Patterson was probably affected "more than anyone because he became kind of a marked guy" for opposing defenses.

Turner joked that Peterson's return would lead to more vacation time, saying, "If Adrian came back, I can go spend a little more time in San Diego and relax a little bit."

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