Former Oklahoma standout Adrian Peterson returned to the Vikings for organized team activities on Tuesday, ending his nearly nine-month absence from the team.
Peterson was suspended from the NFL after being charged with a felony count of child abuse last September for whooping his then four-year-old son with a switch. He later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault, in which the league called an incident of abusive discipline. The situation cost Peterson the remainder of the 2014 season and 4.2M of his league earnings.
Amongst his return, in a news conference, the running back said: “I made a mistake, and I'm not taking it lightly at all. It's something I regret. My son knows that and [so do] the people who truly know me and my character and what type of person I am when I'm around my kids, they know that as well.”
Peterson stated that he went to therapy during the offseason, including a session with the son he disciplined. “The relationship is good. It's love," he explained. "I made a mistake. I know a lot of people don't view it that way based off what they've seen, but ultimately that's what it was. My son knows that and he knows I love him.”
The Vikings star said he was treated well upon his return. “There's been a lot of love I've felt through this process, and I was able to feel that same love today being around the guys and just being back in the building.”
Not only were his teammates happy to have him back, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer anticipated his return as well. “I love this kid. I really do. I wouldn't fly down to Houston to see him if he wasn't important to me and to my program and our coaches and the rest of the football team,” he elaborated. “We welcome him with open arms, unequivocally. I've always supported him 100 percent and will continue to do so as long as he's with us, and hopefully that's for a long, long time."
I think football fans everywhere are just glad the situation has been reconciled, and from this point forward Peterson's name will be mentioned mostly in relation to the field.
As for his future, he has one main goal. “I'm trying to accomplish the ultimate goal, and that's bringing a championship to Minnesota.”