Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's Time to Focus on Football

Photo Courtesy of MNGInteractive
Adrian Peterson reported to voluntary OTA's and Daniel House tells you why it's time to focus on football.

Updated: June 3rd, 2015 5:50pm

By: Daniel House

Nine months ago, Vikings football was turned upside down and thrown into a position many never thought they would see. A star player was indicted for abusing his child by hitting him with a switch. Since the story broke, the Vikings organization has been on a long, bumpy, public relations nightmare.

The name Adrian Peterson was synonymous with the Minnesota Vikings since he exploded onto the scene back in 2007. On the field, Peterson distinguished himself as one of the greatest to ever wear an NFL uniform. Kids bought jerseys, parents used him as a role model, and more importantly, every kid wanted to emulate his actions. One poor decision turned all of this into one massive nightmare for the Vikings organization, its fans, and Adrian Peterson.

Yesterday, Peterson ended his absence from the team and reported for voluntary organized team activities. The Vikings organization stood their ground and didn't allow Peterson to force his way out, or add more guaranteed money to his contract. Initially, the front office supported Peterson, but were forced to suspend him after more details were released regarding the incident. Nonetheless, throughout the entire issue, everyone within the Vikings organization has provided an unwavering amount of support for him.

Head coach Mike Zimmer was one of the main reasons Peterson even considered returning to Minnesota. Zimmer fights for his players and he notes that people will make mistakes, but he wanted to be there in support of him. Reportedly, there may have been a clash between Peterson and upper management at some point. If that is the case, it is extremely unfortunate and you have to wonder what other level of support Peterson was searching for. The Vikings organization from top to bottom handled this issue in the best possible way. They didn't allow Peterson to dictate the direction they were going to head. He was under contract, he made the mistake, and they weren't going to reward a 30-year old running back any guaranteed money during this murky situation. More importantly, Mike Zimmer made it clear that nobody on this roster is bigger or more powerful than the team.

I have several issues with how this was handled by Adrian Peterson, but also feel there are some positives that should be noted, as well.


1) Child abuse is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated. The decision he made was wrong and Peterson should have been more open with everyone from the beginning. However, he did admit he was wrong and took part in consultations to help prevent these issues from happening in the future.
2) Adrian Peterson made the mistake and he should have admitted he was wrong, accepted the suspension, dealt with the consequences, and returned without any issues.
3) We will never know exactly if Peterson wanted to be traded, but his agent clearly made those demands public knowledge. Nobody wants to criticize Peterson's agent Ben Dogra for his role in this mess. Frankly, he didn't help expedite the recovery process. By expressing his interests to the public, he fueled more of this fire than was necessary. On the other hand, Peterson evidently supported these actions and did nothing to stop them from hitting the public eye.
4) Peterson made his image worse by not indicating his stance on a contract, his ideas for the future, and more importantly, for not apologizing sooner to thousands of fans who respected him. When he was asked about whether he felt he needed to apologize to the fans for his actions, he instead shifted the focus to thanking those who "supported" him during the process. I'm talking in particular about the kids who looked up to Peterson and the parents that used him as role model. The least he could have done was apologize to those individuals. He took a different angle and approached it from a personal standpoint. He did acknowledge fan support, but I expected to see a more open-ended approach to certain individuals.


1) During his press conference, he made it clear that he has changed his disciplinary habits for his children. All you can ask for is a change in the way he handles the discipline of his children. He indicated his son is doing well and wants to be around him. Peterson did take the necessary steps to learn from his mistake and that is something that must be respected.
2) When he talked with the media yesterday, he seemed genuine and was very candid about the entire process. He didn't skip around the questions and made it clear that he made a mistake.
3) Adrian Peterson has always been a community man and has done so much for the Twin Cities during his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings. He has contributed millions of dollars to charity and has made in impact through the 'All Day' foundation. Peterson has made an impact on thousands of individuals and shouldn't be judged on one action.
4) You can't always believe everything you hear and we never knew if everything being reported was the truth. Peterson let his agent handle this situation in a strange way and Peterson might not have been as open with everyone as many would have liked. Adrian is a very personal man and doesn't share much with individuals and you have to respect that.

The Fan Perspective

Fans have split beliefs on this issue and you have to respect their thoughts on the entire situation. Many say they won't support Peterson, but will solely be focused on cheering for the Vikings every Sunday. Others are putting it aside and are saying that he has taken the necessary steps to fixing the issue and will support him again.

I asked fans to chime in about Adrian Peterson and if they supported his return:

Whether you support Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings, or football in general, you have the right to your opinion. At times, the situation wasn't handled correctly and nobody was entirely perfect. However, Adrian Peterson will be on the field when the Vikings open the season in San Francisco in September. One of the greatest athletes to every wear a professional sports uniform will provide a massive boost to the Vikings offense. A young quarterback, a plethora of skill players, a developing defense, a phenomenal coaching staff, and a returning superstar, leaves plenty of room for optimism on the playing field. It's time to put all the politics aside and focus on the football season that is ahead for the Minnesota Vikings. Believe what you want, support who you believe is correct in your mind, but get focused on football and leave this circus behind you.


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