Peterson is among five defensive starters whose contracts with the team expire after their season finale next week.
Minnesota also has a juncture of whether to extend or trade Danielle Hunter and Kirk Cousins, who carry hefty cap hits the Vikings will need to address if they hope to build a roster capable of breaking a two-year skid of missing the playoffs.
Peterson addressed the future of the franchise and weighed in on the potential for a coaching change.
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
‘Zim is Definitely the Guy for the Job’
Following a demoralizing 37-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers that eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention, Peterson came to the defense of head coach Mike Zimmer and held the players accountable for not performing their best this season.
“Proud of the group that Zim put together for this 53-man roster. Guys fought each and every game. We came out to battle. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the W’s we needed and we didn’t execute to the best of our ability,” Peterson said in a postgame press conference on January 2.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that the Vikings began preparing to search for a new head coach before the Packers game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also leaked that the verdict was still out on Zimmer if he could bring the team to the postseason. A loss the Packers killed those chances as it appears Minnesota will continue its preparation for a coaching change, per La Canfora.
Despite the disappointing season, Peterson said he believes Zimmer should remain at the helm of the team.
I think Zim is definitely the guy for the job,” Peterson said. “I believe Zim is a great head coach has a great connection with his team. A lot of those games we just wasn’t able to finish and, at the end of the day, that’s not a coaching problem. As players, we have to go out there and execute the plays that’s called upon us — to make the play or service that down. And as players that’s something we didn’t do a good enough job at. As players, we have to look ourselves in the mirror as well — to come out and play better.”
‘This Team Won’t Look the Same Next Year’
For the second straight year, the Vikings enter the final game of the regular season with little to play for in a home game with the Chicago Bears.
It remains to be seen which players will be on the field at U.S. Bank Stadium. Five defensive starters — Peterson, Anthony Barr, Xavier Woods, Nick Vigil and Mackensie Alexander — on expiring contracts have plenty to prove, whether it’s for Minnesota or a new team next season.
“We have a lot of soul searching to do come Sunday, during the week, and see if guys still want to put some good tape on film,” Peterson said. “That’s what it’s all about right now. We know this team won’t look the same next year, but it’s all about going out there and putting your best foot forward every single play.”
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!