PHOENIX — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer admits it wasn’t an easy decision to part ways with running back Adrian Peterson but understands why it had to be done.

“I think he’s a great player, and hopefully he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Viking,” Zimmer said at an NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday morning. “But that’s part of the deal, getting younger [as a team] as well. Salary, too.”

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Peterson, 32, was released after a 10-year career with the Vikings in which he was voted to seven Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro four times. The Vikings have replaced him with Raiders free-agent running back Latavius Murray.

“Adrian and I have a really good relationship,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s still a good player.”

Peterson hasn’t signed with another team, although he expressed interest in playing for the Giants, Seahawks, Texans and Buccaneers. With a quality group of running backs in this year’s draft, Peterson may have to wait a while longer to get a serious look.

“Any of the players that you have, you always have a special bond for them,” Zimmer said. “That’s the hardest part. You get attached to them. They get attached to you. Fans love guys like him. It just comes down to business at the end of the day.”