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Mike Zimmer backs Adrian Peterson for Vikings in 2015

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Scheduled to earn a non-guaranteed salary that would count a prohibitive $15.4 million against the Vikings' salary cap in 2015, suspended running back Adrian Peterson's Minnesota future is up in the air entering the offseason.

As far as coach Mike Zimmer is concerned, Peterson will be welcomed back with open arms.

"Adrian was always great with me. I think he's a good person," Zimmer said, via ESPN.com. "I think obviously he's a great running back, and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order -- that's the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back -- then I will be in his corner whatever the decision is made.

"I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you. I think the kid's a heck of a football player."

Zimmer's public comments are the first by a Vikings official since Peterson was suspended in mid-November. He concedes that he has yet to discuss Peterson's future with general manager Rick Spielman, who will likely have reservations about Peterson's contract figure.

Peterson suggested earlier this month that he would be averse to a pay cut because he believes he's just now entering the prime of his career.

Between that reluctance to restructure and Peterson's inability to return until a month after the start of free agency, the Vikings' football people, salary-cap brain trust and public relations officials will be faced with tough decisions in the coming months.

"We would love to know ASAP," Zimmer added, "just so we can start going because, a guy like him, your football team and your offense can be different (if) you have him and you don't have him. It's how you want to build the team around him, at least in my opinion, anyway."

In Zimmer's ideal world, the promise exhibited by Teddy Bridgewater down the stretch will seduce Peterson and the Vikings' front office into a financial compromise for next season.

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