The game’s most explosive running back had been suspended since November 4 because of a misdemeanor reckless injury charge resulting from an incident where he created bruises on the body of his young son.
The reinstatement goes into effect on Friday, which means it took five months to get Peterson’s case finally resolved. Which is a long time. Consider that Ray Rice’s case—caught on tape when he knocked out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City hotel elevator—was resolved fast enough for him to be reinstated and signed by an NFL team, although no club picked him up.
Peterson had to be relieved when commissioner Roger Goodell sent the Minnesota Viking a letter advising him of his reinstatement, ending the controversy and finally allowing him to resume his luminous career.
Goodell reminded Peterson in the letter that will have to fulfill all the obligations of his plea deal with authorities, including participating in counseling, and that any other violations of the personal conduct policy by Peterson would result in additional discipline, including possible suspension without pay or banishment from the NFL.
Peterson met with Goodell earlier this month regarding his reinstatement, the first time they had spoken since the child abuse case arose last September. Peterson told ESPN on Feb. 19 that he had been following the NFL’s requirements for reinstatement, adding he had met with Dr. April Kuchuk—the New York University psychiatry instructor Goodell had assigned to Peterson’s case—to set up a counseling and treatment plan.
The Vikings acknowledged they received word from Goodell’s office that Peterson was reinstated and “We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings” the team said in a statement.
It does not appear Peterson wants any parts of the Vikings, however. The team starts offseason workouts on Monday and hold their first mandatory minicamp in June. No one can say for sure if Peterson will show up for any of the team’s offseason program.
He told ESPN in February he believed the team had not shown sufficient support for him in the wake of his indictment in September and called the decision to put him on the exempt list an “ambush.”
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, Peterson wants out and has visited with teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, according to reports. The Vikings have said repeatedly they want Peterson back and have no plan to trade him. Peterson’s contract calls for a $12.75 million salary this season and doesn’t expire for another three years.
It’s understandable that the Vikings would want to keep Peterson. He’s the best in the business. But when he needed support, the team abandoned him, taking advice from some “Olivia Pope” type to distance themselves from the beleaguered star. So now that the case is over, that Peterson has endured and is eligible to play, the team wants its prized commodity.
Peterson said he is not falling for the okey-doke. He’d like a trade, but certainly cannot force one. Saying he wants out should be enough for Minnesota to unload him for something of value to truly put this saga behind, as with Peterson around, it will be a distraction all season.
But if the Vikings truly are intent on keeping Peterson, they have to make him feel their commitment to him, kiss his proverbial ring, so to speak.
Peterson deserved the drama he had to endure. Now he deserves a team that will apologize for abandoning him and give him the support any player needs. Whether that’s the Vikings or not is in question.