Vikings fans at Minnesota State University-Mankato chanted "MVP! MVP!" as Adrian Peterson arrived at training camp this weekend, perhaps putting the reinstated running back more at ease, but after a long year in a legal tangle, he admitted it's still going to take time to move forward.
The NFL announced Peterson would be removed from the commissioner's exempt list in April. He pleaded no contest to child abuse charges in Texas and was suspended by the NFL until at least April 15, appealed his suspension, but an arbitrator sided with the NFL. In February, a federal judge in Minneapolis ruled in favor Peterson and the NFL Players' Association, vacating the previous arbitration.
"It feels good to be back, to get training camp started," he told reporters on Saturday. "I can’t say that I’m ever ready for training camp for the past nine years until I actually pull into Mankato and then get that sense, like, hey it’s here, and no turning back, the ball is starting to roll. I’m excited and I’m looking forward to a great season."
However, even with Vikings fans in tow, he said it doesn't necessarily feel like that chapter of his life has passed.
"No, not necessarily, but I’m focusing on looking forward. But it’s comforting; it’s definitely a good feeling to know that the people do have your back. But, it will take a while for this to get erased out of my memory," he said.
Last week, the Vikings and Peterson agreed on a 3-year contract, now fully guaranteed for $13 million in 2015 with a $7 million injury guarantee in 2016. Peterson said he wasn't surprised by the patience his team showed throughout the year, but admitted he didn't know if he'd even be returning to the club at all.
"I didn’t know. There was a point, like I said once before that; I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I did a lot of praying and with time, I was about to sit back and think about things and smooth things out in my mind and really see what direction I wanted to go in. Those decisions have led me to be here today, being asked questions by you guys," he said.
Fox 9 Sports director Jim Rich will be live from training camp with continuing coverage Sunday night.