EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Mike Zimmer was Adrian Peterson's coach for one offseason plus one regular season game, before the star running back went on hiatus.

Zimmer never wavered in his staunch support for Peterson during the child abuse ordeal that kept him away from the Minnesota Vikings for months. The coach knew how valuable Peterson would be for his offense. Zimmer's patronage ran deeper than that, though.

He vouched for Peterson's character with any opportunity he was given over the last year. Zimmer said he never really worried that Peterson would not return to the team.