MINNEAPOLIS -- Two days after the Minnesota Vikings made the decision to deactivate Adrian Peterson for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, those players who would speak about Peterson largely supported the 2012 NFL MVP while doing their best to downplay the effect his absence had in a 30-7 loss on Sunday.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson gave possibly the most insightful response when asked about the identity of the Vikings' offense without Peterson. "We've got to get the mindset that (No.) 28 probably ain't going to be here with us," Patterson said, "so we have to come in and do what we do best."
That could be the reality facing the Vikings in at least the near future as the team decides what to do with Peterson after he was indicted on one count of injury to a child in Montgomery County, Texas on Friday. Peterson was booked in the Montgomery County jail early on Saturday morning after a grand jury found he used an unreasonable amount of force in disciplining his son earlier this year. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on Sunday that the Vikings would determine Peterson's status after the weekend, adding that "all options are on the table." A league source told Paolantonio the Vikings could make a decision as soon as Monday following a meeting with ownership on Sunday night.
Running back Matt Asiata, who filled in for Peterson on Sunday, said he heard from Peterson before Sunday's game, telling him to "just go out and play hard," Asiata said. "We've got his back, and we miss him."
Fullback Jerome Felton also said he sent Peterson a text message before Sunday's game; "Adrian is a teammate and a friend -- sent him a little message, but we’ve got to focus on getting better this week," Felton said. "We talked, but I'll keep all of that between us."
Quarterback Matt Cassel said he was "shocked" to hear the news, "probably just like everybody else," but added the Vikings didn't change their game plan because of Peterson's absence.
"It’s Adrian Peterson. He’s definitely an impact player without a doubt," Cassel said. "At the same time, I don’t think we can use that as an excuse for why we performed the way we did today. The great example was last year, when we lost him for the Philadelphia game, and the team went out and performed well and we won the game without him. That happens sometimes, whether it’s through injury or unfortunate circumstances; you’re going to lose players and you have to learn how to close ranks and move forward.”
Coach Mike Zimmer largely declined to discuss Peterson, saying he would address the situation "Monday or whenever we have the press conference," and bristled at the idea that finding out the news about Peterson on Friday affected the Vikings.
"No, it didn’t affect the team," Zimmer said. "You know what affected the team? Throwing interceptions, getting a field goal blocked, not tackling well enough, having penalties on defense. That’s what affected the team. The team was fine.”