The future for Adrian Peterson is far from clear after his appeal for reinstatement was denied, leaving the running back ineligible to be considered for reinstatement until April. When he is finally made available once again, the Minnesota Vikings might be willing to welcome back Peterson with open arms.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Vikings' staff wants Peterson back on the team in 2015, although it's not clear whether the reunion is something that the running back would even want. The franchise's all-time leading rusher is reportedly weighing whether Minnesota is the right climate to return to. Despite the coaching staff and most of the organization backing Peterson's return, not everyone is on board. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Vikings general counsel Kevin Warren did not support the running back's return this season and has been working with the league to make sure it didn't happen.
Peterson acknowledged in an interview with USA Today's Tom Pelissero that his time with the Vikings may be nearing a conclusion. Still, many of the players on the team would welcome back Peterson, even if the team is feeling pretty comfortable as a unit without the six-time Pro Bowler, as tight end Kyle Rudolph told NFL Network's Albert Breer:
"I think can speak for everyone on the team when I say that we would welcome him back and be excited to have him back. At the same time, last week, we were coming off back-to-back wins and rolling offensively, so I don't think anyone was waiting for him to come through that door. ... Everyone has done a great job when some of the things get out there, not letting it affect us. We can't get too excited."
When Peterson is eligible to be reinstated in mid-April, it will be well after the opening of free agency has changed many NFL rosters. The decisions made by the Vikings in March could be telling about the team's plans for Peterson and provide a better picture of his future with the team.
Peterson signed a seven-year, $96 million deal with the Vikings in 2011 and isn't scheduled to be a free agent until the 2018 offseason. He is scheduled to make $12.75 million in 2015.