A lot had happened since Adrian Peterson was last on the field for the Vikings.
He was placed on the Commissioner's exempt list in September after he was indicted on a charge of beating his son with a switch. His agent said earlier this offseason that Peterson would never play for the team again and that he wanted to be traded or released. Peterson went on a Twitter rant just last week in which he decried the structure of NFL contracts and seemed to be pushing for the Vikings to guarantee his salary.
However, he showed up on Tuesday at the team's OTA and was welcomed with open arms. All coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings saw was the familiar No. 28 in the backfield, not the drama and controversy -- and absence -- that has defined the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player for the last nine months.
"There's not a prettier sight than when [Peterson's] got the ball in his hands," Zimmer said in a post-workout news conference.
Peterson, 30, showed up with no change to his contract. He has three seasons and $46 million in non-guaranteed money left on his deal with the Vikings.
"Ultimately what it came down to was get back in the building," Peterson said after the practice. "I've been working out hard, keeping my body in shape and it came down just to getting back in the building, being around my teammates, being around my coaches, getting back into the swing of things. I reached out, kind of gave them the heads up and said I'll be in town, I'll be coming in."
Peterson said his agent, Ben Dogra, was "doing his job" when he said it was not in Peterson's best interests to play for the Vikings any longer and made ultimatums to the team. Zimmer said the Vikings never entertained the idea of trading Peterson.
But Peterson also said that at the time of those comments even Peterson was unsure what he wanted.
"I'm going to be absolutely 100 percent with you. With everything going on in my life during that time, I really didn't know what I wanted," Peterson said. "I didn't know if I wanted to play somewhere else, if I wanted to retire, and if I wanted to go off, you know, get into track, just change it up differently. Do something different. That's where, you know, receiving advice from my parents and my advisers really played a big role."
Peterson also talked about how much he loves his children. He said the first person he apologized to was his son, whom he injured, and that he has been in therapy learning new parenting techniques.
"We welcome him with open arms unequivocally," Zimmer said. "I love this kid, I really do."