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Peterson receives warm welcome as Vikings open camp

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Adrian Peterson was the center of attention on Saturday as the Minnesota Vikings checked into their training camp in Mankato, Minn.

The embattled running back was greeted by several hundred fans at Minnesota State University waiting for his autograph and to welcome him back to the Vikings.

The 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player who rushed for 2,097 yards that season is rejoining the team after sitting out almost the entire 2014 season as a result of his indictment on child injury charges last September. He was reinstated from the commissioner’s exempt list in April.

“It’s definitely a good feeling to know that people do have your back,” Peterson said. “But I’m sure it will take a while for (last year) to get erased out of my memory.”

This week, Peterson and the Vikings worked out a restructured contract that is fully guaranteed for $13 million in 2015 and has a $7 million injury guarantee in 2016.

“I’m pleased. I feel like both parties are pleased,” Peterson said of the new deal. “I’m excited to be able to get things done, and it just shows support — the support that these guys have been showing me and that they believe in me and I believe in them as well. …

“I did a lot of praying. With time, I was able to sit back and think about things and smooth things out.”

Peterson played in just one game last season, and coach Mike Zimmer said it’s unlikely that the 30-year-old star will see action in any preseason games this summer. But Zimmer plans to give Peterson plenty of reps in practice.

“He’s in great shape. Through OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamp, he looked fantastic,” Zimmer said. “He wants to get back, too. I’ll probably have to hold him back more so than push him. But we all have jobs to do, and that’s why we’re down here right now.”

Peterson said he missed playing last year but made the most of his time away. His body feels good and the prolonged absence gave him a new perspective.

“I’ve got a different mindset when it comes to life in general and football, too,” he said. “I know that’s going to make me a better player.”

The Vikings and Peterson, who ranks 28th on the NFL career rushing list with 10,190 yards, appear ready to put the past behind and prepare for the 2015 season.

“I think resiliency would be a good way to describe getting through everything, knowing in the end what is right — what is right for Adrian and what’s right for the organization,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “I think everybody’s looking forward to moving on.”


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