Off-The-Field Issues

2014 Minnesota Vikings: NFL Rejected Adrian Peterson Deal for Immediate Reinstatement (UPDATE: He’s likely to be suspended)

UPDATE 4: Sponsors care. Nike just terminated their relationship with Adrian Peterson after suspending it on September 17th per multiple media reports. That should give us pause in assuming the NFL will be lenient.

UPDATE 3: Per Ian Rapaport, the NFL will not consider time missed on the exempt list as part of any punishment and that a “suspension looms”

Also, it could take weeks:

Strong language. Seems like a suspension is a near-certainty at this point.

UPDATE: It looks like Mike Florio’s speculation on ProFootballTalk may have had some basis in fact, as Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune wrote that the delay may be coming from the team, as the Vikings are determining whether or not they want Adrian to play for them this year. But I wouldn’t read far too far into it, as the same article indicates that they are still looking from direction from the league on the matter.

UPDATE2: Both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapaport report that Adrian Peterson has been informed that his case will fall under the personal conduct policy, not the domestic violence policy. They also report that the NFL has requested that Adrian provide all relevant information regarding his case and that he has a right to a hearing before they hand a decision down. The NFL will consult with designated experts, and through that consultation will make a decision.

This means we don’t have to worry about the NFLPA pushing back on the definitional problems of using the DV policy or that any precedents set in the DV policy apply. The commissioner has full discretion with regards to the personal conduct policy and can punish how he sees fit, though that doesn’t mean the NFLPA wouldn’t push back. Michael McCann, a sports law expert, speculated that it would be possible to suspend Peterson for games already missed and take those game checks, which would be good news for Peterson’s playing time and fans who want him back, but it seems like that isn’t the direction this is going in.

The NFL is proceeding with extreme caution on this one, and wouldn’t even let Peterson know what the impact of any plea negotiation would be. The more cautious they are, the more likely it is their sensitivity to bad PR leads to a harsher punishment for Peterson.

The NFL has told Peterson that he will remain on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list until they make a decision regarding any punishment from the league.

Note: Further clarification in regards to the DV policy vs. the personal conduct policy—the domestic violence policy falls underneath the personal conduct policy, but the NFL specifically chose not to use wording regarding the DV policy in order to not constrain themselves. That they didn’t inform Peterson his case would fall under the domestic violence policy is perhaps significant in itself. The NFL would probably not hesitate to use or publicize the policy they crafted to shield themselves from criticism.

Original story below:

According to Mike Garafolo at Fox Sports, Adrian Peterson and his team (which includes his lawyers and the NFLPA) attempted to work out an understanding with the NFL as his plea deal negotiations were going with Montgomery County in regards to his reinstatement, but the NFL rejected any deal or understanding.

The NFL, according to Garafolo, the NFL told Peterson and his team that a decision would be forthcoming and that he and his team would have to wait until the NFL informed them.

This means that the NFL hasn’t removed Peterson from the exempt/commissioner’s permission list yet, which at least suggests that they will not reinstate Peterson until they have a plan for his punishment, whether it’s a suspension or fine. Though he was added to the list at the Wilfs’ request, the commissioner has ultimate control over this kind of exempt list. The longer they wait, the more likely it seems that the punishment will be harsher than a simple fine.

That all makes for an interesting twist, because one of the assumptions that many people made in wondering why Peterson changed course and agreed to a plea deal was that there was an understanding between him and the NFL that he could be fast-tracked into playing this year. It turns out that Peterson didn’t know that. If anything, this reduces the optimism surrounding his short-term NFL prospects, but it probably will not prevent him from playing by the end of the year (as far as we know).

After Garafolo published his story, he tweeted out that the NFLPA could possibly fight a suspension and that Peterson may have to undergo a hearing before a decision is made.


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  1. Not reading too much into it, other than the NFL is going to make a decision on its timeline and not on Adrian’s.

  2. this thing has played out as anticipated. i don’t believe that AD’s legal team changed course and then agreed to a plea deal. i believe what has happened was their plan all along. they let the initial shock and outrage die down and always planned to get AD back on the field asap, and that was via a plea deal. they tried to exercise some control over the nfl’s punishment, but had very little or no leverage

    i find this interesting, from PFT:
    “There’s a sense within the NFLPA that the delay possibly originates with the Vikings, who fear another backlash if Peterson returns too quickly. And so the league office provides cover for the team, keeping Peterson on ice for a couple extra weeks before issuing a final decision on his status.”

    1. Look at the source of the article….The strib. I call BS. Strib keeps dumping on Peterson.

  3. I agree with CALVKG…it doesn’t seem likely that there has really been a significant change in anyone’s plan. There’s no new evidence; all of the facts were pretty much established last summer before the first grand jury. Both the DA and Peterson’s legal team obviously felt that a plea deal was the best scenario.

    I think Arif pretty much nailed it in a previous post: The Vikings do want Peterson to play this year, but it’s almost certainly so that they can increase his trade value rather than because they see him as a major part of the team’s future. His age, his salary, and McKinnon’s development have made his departure from the team all but inevitable. I don’t think he’s legal problems ultimately had a huge impact on the team’s long-term plans, but they probably helped to cement the decision.

  4. I’d sure like to know if “suspension looms” is a Rappaport conclusion or something a source told him.

    But I don’t think its news that the league does not see time on the exempt list, by itself, as discipline.

  5. It’s ridiculous if they don’t offer him the possibility of giving his paychecks for the last 6-8 games back in order for them to qualify for suspended games. People act like paid leave was just a big ole vacation for him these last 8 weeks with no negative effect on him. The NFL is making it worse by dragging their feet. Seriously, have him give back his last paychecks and call it over. People will complain about it for like a week and then enough people will say “let it go” that it will be over. Dragging their feet now is just making it worse.

  6. Went past the big Nike store in London yesterday, big Dallas/Jacksonville display ahead of their game.. did wonder where the Vikings gear was, then clicked that their stock was probably all Peterson & removed!

    Even had Manziel #2. Sigh.