EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- While Adrian Peterson's return to the playing field remains a topic of great intrigue around the country, Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer doesn't see much point in worrying about it -- at least not yet.
Zimmer said on Monday the Vikings support Peterson, who pleaded no contest last week to a misdemeanor count of reckless assault and is trying to get back on the field after the conclusion of his child abuse case. But until commissioner Roger Goodell decides whether he will reinstate Peterson from the exempt list, the Vikings' "hands are tied," Zimmer said.
"When those decisions are made, then we can make decisions," Zimmer said. "Until then, there's really nothing we can do about it, other than what I've said all along: We love the kid. He's done everything we've asked him to do, and we support him. We want him to get through this, for him, and then we'll worry about all the other things we have to deal with at that point in time."
The Vikings have been without Peterson since he was arrested on Sept. 12, and the 2012 NFL MVP has been on the commissioner's exempt list since Sept. 17, after the team's initial decision to let Peterson play during his legal proceedings was met with a sharp rebuke from sponsors, legislators and fans. The Vikings are 3-5 without Peterson but have won their past two games. They have the NFL's 14th-best rushing total in the eight games Peterson has missed.
The team released a statement on Monday saying it would "respect and understand the league's process" as it decided whether to reinstate Peterson or discipline him under the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL Players Association has threatened a grievance if Peterson was not reinstated by 5 p.m. ET on Monday.
Asked how the Vikings will deal with the Peterson situation, wide receiver Greg Jennings said, "Like this: We focus on the Bears, and let everyone who's dealing with the whole Adrian situation deal with that. I'll continue to pray for him and his family and things like that, but we have to focus on what we can control, and what we can control is this locker room and what we're trying to get done against the Bears."
The Vikings travel to Chicago to play the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.