EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman on Wednesday told reporters he thinks Adrian Peterson can make an impact on the field once the running back resolves his suspension by the league.
The 2012 NFL MVP is suspended until April by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The suspension has multiple conditions that Peterson must satisfy before Peterson will be considered for reinstatement.
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Peterson, who only played in the 2014 season opener, is under contract with the Vikings for 2015, but there has been media speculation on what might happen.
"There's no doubt or question on what Adrian Peterson has done on the field for this organization and what he is as a football player," Spielman said. "I think people tend to forget, when Adrian did make a mistake, he admitted he made a mistake, went through the process in the court system. He's currently suspended by the NFL right now, but he's done a lot of positive things in this community as well.
"I've been here his whole career and know what type of person Adrian is, but I also know we have to follow by everything that's put in place for us," Spielman continued. "Is there a resolution? Not right now. All I know is where we stand today. Is that going to change? I'm sure it will change, but until those things change, until things get resolved, right now, we have Adrian Peterson, who is under contract next year who is currently suspended by the NFL."
Spielman cited Peterson's 2012 season in which he rushed for 2,097 yards (nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's record) after suffering an ACL injury the previous December as enhancing the likelihood of Peterson continuing to make an impact on the field.
"Adrian may be one of the most unique players I've ever been around, where everybody had talked about, 'He's not going to be the same after his ACL,' and that was his best year coming back from that," Spielman said. "Knowing Adrian, I know he is going to want to come back and play at a very high level when he comes back. I'm anticipating that from knowing what he's done in the past."
Spielman reinforced comments by Head Coach Mike Zimmer at the end of the season that it is important for Peterson must first take care of the requirements of the suspension.
Spielman and Vikings scouts are scheduled to attend Senior Bowl practices next week as part of their preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft, which is scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Chicago. Free agency is scheduled to begin in March.
"I think a lot (of the offseason plan) will depend on Adrian's situation, but I also know initially, as I start putting a little bit of the draft stuff together, it's a pretty good running back class this year," Spielman said. "I think it's one of the better running back classes, depth-wise, in quite a while."
Spielman said terms of the suspension prevent Minnesota officials from speaking with Peterson.