Adrian Peterson weighs in on Vikings’ hiring of Mike Zimmer: ‘Trust me, I’m watching’
The action has been fast and furious over the past 24 hours at Winter Parker, the headquarters of the Minnesota Vikings. After an exhaustive, three-week search, the Vikings and Mike Zimmer agreed to a deal that will make the former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator only the ninth head coach in the franchise’s 56-year history.
The hire has been nearly universally praised in the Twin Cities, as the reputation of Zimmer being a fiery leader will be a welcome change to calm, cool and collected approach of his predecessor, Leslie Frazier.
Reports are surfacing that the Vikings are nearing a deals with both Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards and Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner to serve under Zimmer as the team’s defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator, respectively.
The latter presumed hire, Turner, is of significant relevance given that the 57-year-old Zimmer specializes in the defensive side of the ball. To make the assumption that Turner, an offensive guru with a long track record of creating and implementing creative and effective schemes, will be the team’s offensive coordinator that much more intriguing is predicting how Adrian Peterson will view it.
Peterson is without a doubt the face of the franchise and the team’s best player. Even though the rumors of Turner’s impending hire had yet to surface, Peterson weighed in on the hiring of Zimmer, simply stating that he’s keeping an eye on things.
The running back, who said he hadn’t spoken to Zimmer as of Wednesday when reached for comment, appears to indicate that he’ll reserve judgment to see how everything shakes out in the end.
“Trust me, I’m watching. I’m watching to see exactly what we’re doing, just to see exactly what direction we’re headed in,” Peterson said, according to an NFL Nation report. “I’ve been keeping my eyes open with the head coach; I knew he was probably the guy they were going to go with. It wasn’t too much of a surprise. I’ve been watching for the coordinators — are they going to keep Bill Musgrave around or what direction they’re going to go with. With a new coach, that’s when things start happening, too, that’s all part of the process.”
Peterson did have a sub-par season — by his standards — during 2013, as nagging injuries hampered his production. There is no arguing that the NFL is a pass-happy league now and that franchise running backs aren’t deemed as valuable as they once were, the Vikings would be well-served ensuring Peterson’s happiness. Despite his age, 28 (getting up there in running back years), there appears to be plenty of tread remaining on his tires.
Peterson, who was devastated when the Vikings traded Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks last offseason, admits that while turnover can be shocking, he understands that the NFL is a business first and does his best not to let his feelings cloud his vision.
“I’ve seen players come in with the Vikings — guys I figured I’d probably play with until I finished playing with the Vikings — and they’re gone,” Peterson said. “At first, it was, ‘How could they let that person go?’ It didn’t really take me too long to kind of get over it and accept it for what it was. He (Frazier) is out, so we start a new chapter. My personal feelings, I didn’t let it get in the way with business.”
Peterson was fiercely loyal to Leslie Frazier, even saying after the season that he would vouch for keeping Frazier on as head coach should ownership ask his opinion. It will be interesting to see how he acclimates and accepts Zimmer as the team’s new leader. Hopefully for the Vikings, he’ll ultimately be happy with the hire.
But given his track record for defying odds and overcoming adversity, expect Peterson to come back as strong as ever, no matter who is calling the shots on offense. And hopefully for the Vikings, a new and talented quarterback.