Adrian Peterson backs pay for play

As the debate about whether the NCAA should pay college athletes continues, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson offered his strongest comments yet Wednesday in favor of players receiving compensation.

Peterson, speaking on a conference call Wednesday to promote a recovery icing device called Hyperice that he endorses, said players "are the ones making these universities money" and surmised that both he and Johnny Manziel brought in astronomical sums of revenue for their respective schools.

"Johnny Manziel made Texas A&M so much money," he said. "When I was at Oklahoma, they made so much money."

Peterson also spoke out against NBA commissioner Adam Silver's comments that basketball players should stay in school for two years.

"They're trying to make basketball players go two years in college. Wow. I wonder why?" Peterson said. "Think about it -- just imagine if LeBron James had been in college for two years. How much money would that college have made off LeBron James? They would have made so much money off LeBron James. It's about the freedom to do as you want and make your own decisions."

When Peterson was at Oklahoma, he said, his first daughter was born, adding responsibilities to his plate outside of "playing football and going to class."

"Nobody wants to live in the dorms for four years," Peterson said. "You see the guys who are older, and they have responsibilities. I feel like, as much money as universities make, some of that should come down to the players, as well."

Peterson, who had groin surgery after last season, said he is still rehabbing and isn't ready to participate in the Vikings' offseason workout program.

Peterson does, however, plan to join the team at some point -- and once he does, Peterson said, he isn't interested in sharing carries with another running back and reducing his workload.

Peterson turned 29 last month and had his third surgery in as many years this winter, but the 2012 NFL MVP said he plans to be his "normal self" once he's completely recovered from the groin injury he suffered Nov. 3. That injury, Peterson believes, hurt his ability to make cuts and might have led to the mid-foot sprain he suffered Dec. 8, in Baltimore.

"Right now, the most important thing is getting healthy," Peterson said. "That's what I'm doing. I'm rehabbing, I'm working out, still, trying to get the body back to where it needs to be."