Adrian Peterson had his meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday in hopes of being reinstated to the league after seven months in career limbo.
No decisions were made at the meeting – Peterson is still technically the Commissioner’s Exempt List until at least April 15, but the word coming out of the league’s New York office is that further suspension is reportedly “highly unlikely.”
Peterson wanted to make the point to Goodell and the league office why he believes he shouldn’t be subject to further suspension or penalties and come off the exempt list.
There are a couple of key issues involved in A.P.’s wish to get off the exempt list that would impact both him and the Vikings. First, he wants assurance that there won’t be any additional game suspensions tied to his violation of league policy in disciplining his son last summer. Second is the time element surrounding the suspension. With the draft just a little more than three weeks away, Peterson wants to have his case resolved so if the hard line his agent Ben Dogra has drawn in the sand with the Vikings remains, the Vikings would have the opportunity to trade him to another team – Arizona and Dallas being the teams most often mentioned – over draft weekend.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has maintained that the organization wants Peterson back and general manager Rick Spielman has gone on record multiple times saying that the team has no intention of trading him. But if he puts his league penalties behind him for good and is free and clear to resume his NFL career, it would open up more options for the Vikings and potential suitors in the event the two sides can’t reach an amicable agreement.
Last month, Dogra made public statements saying that he felt it wasn’t in Peterson’s best interests to remain with the Vikings and that he would be better off getting a fresh start with another organization.
While the Vikings have expressed no public interest in parting ways with Peterson, the team has a rich recent history of making trades to acquire first-round draft picks. Over the last three years, the Vikings have had a modern-era record seven first-round picks, trading into the end of the first round in each of the last three years to get that accomplished.
If Peterson’s value is that of a first-round pick, both the Cardinals and Cowboys have the ammunition to get it done. Both have been linked to drafting a running back in the first round – Arizona currently sits with the 24th pick in the draft while Dallas is at No. 27.
It’s unclear at this point where exactly Peterson stands on the issue. We’ve heard from the Vikings. We’ve heard from Dogra. But A.P. has remained largely mum on the topic recently and there’s no telling whether or not he will refuse to report to the Vikings for offseason workouts, training camp or even the preseason if he isn’t traded.
For now, everybody is holding firm to their positions and nobody is blinking. Will that happen sooner than later? If and when Peterson is removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt List and allowed to return to the game without further suspensions or penalties looming over him, things could change quickly.
All the removal from the exempt list will do is give the interested parties more options. It may not play out until the first night of the draft if a trade is going to happen, but the wheels are in motion – one way or another – to get A.P. back on the field.
Onus could be on Peterson soon
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