Somewhat lost in the coverage from the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting was Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer channeling "Beast Mode."
"I'm just here so I don't get fined," Zimmer joked to open his hour-long session with national reporters in reference to Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch's repeated quote during a required media session before Super Bowl XLIX.
Zimmer drew a crowd of reporters that mostly wanted to talk about another elite running back, Adrian Peterson, who played in Zimmer's first game as Vikings coach in 2014 but missed the final 15.
Peterson served three games of a six-game suspension issued by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the conclusion of last season. Under the ruling, Goodell said Peterson would not be considered for reinstatement until at least April 15. Goodell said Wednesday that he plans to meet with Peterson before then.
The running back is currently on the Commissioner's Exempt List, which allows him to communicate with Zimmer, General Manager Rick Spielman and Vikings Ownership.
Peterson has three years remaining on his contract with the Vikings, and Zimmer said, "we expect him to honor it."
Zimmer fielded 13 straight questions regarding the Peterson situation to open the session and revisited the topic as reporters made their rounds to each roundtable discussion with all coaches of the 16 NFC teams.
"I love the kid. He's been great with everything with me," Zimmer said early in the session. "We fully expect him to be here. It's no different. He's done some unbelievable things in our community and in the state, and we're supportive until he gets back. All of his teammates are excited to get him back and coaches and the organization and fans, so it should be all systems go."
Zimmer later added, "I really don't know what people around him are saying because I'm not privy to those conversations. I know we're OK with him coming back, and I think Adrian is a great competitor. I know he loves being around the teammates. Our team and Adrian communicate a lot."
In addition to "All Day," Zimmer was asked about the first seasons turned in by 2014 first-round picks Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr (**click here** for part of NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks' redo of last year's first round) and Minnesota's trade with Miami to land fleet-footed receiver Mike Wallace.
Zimmer was also asked about his appearances in three seasons of the Hard Knocks football documentary produced by HBO and NFL Films during training camp. Zimmer was an assistant in Dallas for one of the show's seasons and in Cincinnati for two. He said he wouldn't oppose the Vikings ever being on the show but said it's not his call and added "this is not the right situation."
"If we were selected to do it, I would do it," Zimmer said. "They're good people, they work hard. I think they're extremely professional, and honestly it's really good for the fans. It's great for the fans. For your fans, it's an unbelievable experience because they get to see things they never saw before, and are there some things that I wish wouldn't be about me in there? Yeah, but you know. I didn't watch the last one. I did watch the other two in the offseason."