Reports have surfaced that the Vikings are prepared to move on without Adrian Peterson – both this season and beyond.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, a well-connected reporter citing both team and league sources, reported that the Vikings are likely viewing Peterson’s career with the team as over and his chances of ever playing in the NFL may be in jeopardy.
Mortensen said one of the larger issues in Peterson’s current commissioner’s exemption status is that the Vikings front office is convinced that Peterson “doesn’t get it” when it comes to the potential severity of the sanctions that may be coming from the league.
Peterson took to Twitter on Friday, writing that he requested a lie detector test presumably to prove his innocence by answering questions as to whether he believed his disciplining of his 4-year old with a wooden switch was wrong or viewed in his mind as child abuse.
Peterson’s tweet read, “!Note, I requested the Polygraph. Share that as well! May The Lord continue to Bless U All. #EPD#NoWeapon.”
It may have been the last hash tag that will receive the most scrutiny, because it essentially implies that Peterson believes a switch is not a weapon, clearly an opinion not shared by the Vikings or the league.
When Commissioner Roger Goodell held his press conference about the personal conduct of players, coaches, owners and league executives, he made a point to say that the league is going to come down severely on players who display violence toward women or children.
From that statement, many have inferred that when Goodell was discussing domestic violence, Ray Rice was at the source of that portion of his comment. The mention of child abuse would just as pointedly be directed at Peterson.
When the Ravens released Rice after video of the elevator knockout punch he threw on his fiancée surfaced, the league stepped in and circumvented the standard waiver process by placing Rice on indefinite suspension. The same may be awaiting Peterson.
Officially, the NFL hasn’t taken any punitive action toward Peterson. If the Vikings opt to reinstate Peterson at some point this season, the league may enforce its own punishment against him. There has been talk that Peterson could get reinstated if his current legal situation is resolved over the next month or so, but given the court schedule in the Texas courtroom Peterson will be tried in, there has been no indication that the local authorities are going to drop the charges. The only way the case will get resolved during the 2014 season would likely be reaching a plea agreement, which also has not been discussed as an option because Peterson remains convinced a father disciplining his son with a switch is not child abuse.
With sentiment remaining strong against Peterson, Mortensen said “multiple sources” in the organization have told him the Vikings don’t foresee Peterson in their future.
On the commissioner’s exempt list, Peterson can still draw his 2014 salary. The final three years of his current deal will likely make the Vikings’ decision more about economics than how much football A.P. has left in his NFL career.
Under the terms of his contract, if Peterson is on the roster next year, he will have a base salary of $12.75 million and his cap number would be $15.4 million. To release or trade him would result in a dead money cap hit of just $2.4 million. In the final three years of his deal, Peterson is due $45.25 million. The likelihood of that being paid out seems remote.
Whether Peterson has played his last game as a Viking or not is still up in the air, but, given the events of the last few days, it’s looking more and more likely that the Vikings are preparing for life without Peterson.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Money, media indicate A.P.’s future in doubt
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