PHOENIX - Despite speculation that Adrian Peterson is pushing for a trade from the Vikings, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer continues to believe his All-Pro running back will remain with the team.
"We expect him to be there [in Minnesota]," Zimmer said at an NFC coaches' breakfast Wednesday morning at the NFL's annual spring meetings. "I'm excited to get him back and get him with Teddy [Bridgewater] and the guys. It should be fun."
Peterson remains on the Commissioner's Exempt list while his case is being appealed by the NFL. Peterson had initially won a court order vacating the NFL's suspension, but the league since has appealed that decision. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday he expects to meet soon with Peterson, who could be reinstated sometime after April 15.
Zimmer has met with Peterson but declined to reveal the contents of their conversation. Asked if he had a sense of whether Peterson was OK with returning to the Vikings, Zimmer paused and said, "I think when he comes back, he'll be great. I don't want to get involved with our conversations and what we've talked about, and I don't want to speak for him either."
Zimmer added that Peterson "is under contract and we expect him to be there."
Peterson has been the subject of trade speculation, with the Cowboys and Cardinals mentioned as the two most logical suitors. A source familiar with the Cowboys situation, however, told Newsday this week that the team was not expected to make a play for Peterson. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked about the Peterson speculation, but declined comment - albeit in his typically colorful style.
"You're trying to get me fined? That's tampering, dude!" Arians joked with a reporter at the coaches' breakfast. "I ain't gonna talk about another player."
Arians said in response to another question about Peterson, "I ain't saying jack about Adrian Peterson. I can get fined for that."