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ESPN reporter: Vikings want Adrian Peterson back, but RB believes team won’t keep him if he wants out

LISTEN: Ben Goessling- ESPN NFL Nation Vikings reporter

As much fun as the Adrian Peterson-to-Arizona rumors are (for Cardinals fans, anyway), there are a few road blocks in the way of a deal going down.

Chief among them, of course, is the Minnesota Vikings, who would have to decide to trade their all-time leading rusher. Only then could we talk about potential destinations, and only then could the Cardinals become a real factor.

And according to ESPN Vkings reporter Ben Goessling, the team remains hopeful Peterson will soften his stance against returning to the only NFL team he has ever played for. That’s why they’ve had multiple meetings with the six-time Pro Bowl selection.

“They really couldn’t do that until basically the last month when he was taken off the suspension list and put back on the Commissioner’s Exempt list,” Goessling told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “Now that they can have communication with him and talk to him face-to-face, they’re trying to make up for lost time here.

“Some of it was just for him to get a chance to get some of these things off his chest, and he’s now had a chance to do that with (general manager) Rick Spielman twice, with (head coach) Mike Zimmer once and with ownership once.”

Goessling said it will come down to Peterson’s willingness to forgive the Vikings for what he views as them wronging him while he was dealing with some off-the-field problems.

“The Vikings certainly want him back,” he added. “I think they have a few weeks here to try to convince him before they really need try to think about making a trade. But a lot of this hinges on what Adrian Peterson wants to do.”

The reporter said the last time he spoke with Peterson, the running back told him, “I know that they’re not going to make me be here if I tell them I don’t want to be.” That would indicate Peterson believes the team will will ultimately consent to trading him if that is his wish.

“He feels like they will help him out if he says he doesn’t want to be here,” he said. “I don’t think this is going to turn into a game of chicken in terms of will he show up for training camp — I don’t think we’re heading towards that. But there is still a little bit of time to try to figure this out. The Vikings certainly want to try to get him back here.”

The Vikings, who had Peterson for just one game last season, finished a somewhat surprising 7-9. With a young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater under center, it would not be a bad idea to have a running back like Peterson to help carry the load on offense.

Peterson, who will turn 30 on March 21, ran for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013, and has tallied 10,190 yards and 86 on the ground since being selected seventh overall out of Oklahoma in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Goesslin says if someone offered the Vikings a pair of first-round picks for Peterson right now the team would probably have to consider it, but while there is no formal deadline for a decision to be made, April 15 — which is when he could be reinstated from the Commissioner’s Exempt list — could be the target date.

“That was the date they talked about, and if it’s not there, offseason workouts start on April 20,” he said. “I think you want to know, if he’s reinstated and he has a chance to show up at your building and you’re expecting him at your building on the 20th, you want to know by then.

“And you certainly want to have this all done in time to make a deal before the draft. The draft picks are going to be what you’re going to get, and you have to know that by then.”

The 2015 NFL Draft begins on April 30, which is when Goessling said would seem like the “absolute latest” date this could be resolved. However, he strongly believes the team would like to have it all figured out before then.

“To me, somewhere in that April 15, April 20 range; I’m assuming Adrian Peterson is going to be reinstated in there at some point and then you have to figure out if he’s going to be at your building or not,” he said. “I don’t think you want a situation where workouts start, he’s not there, people are wondering what’s going on. I think they would prefer to get rid of all that before then.”