Adrian Peterson is on the verge of resolving his legal issues.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings running back agreed to a deal in a Montgomery County (Texas) courtroom that includes pleading no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault and no jail time, according to a source involved with the legal proceedings.
Peterson will be placed on probation. The agreement must be approved by a judge before it becomes official. The District Attorney's office and Peterson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, did not comment.
The plea deal could clear Peterson for a return to the field, but the situation remains fluid. Rapoport reported Monday that Peterson won't be immediately reinstated and active after taking a plea deal, according to two sources with direct knowledge of his situation.
The NFL released a statement Tuesday on Peterson's future status: "We will review the matter and make a determination. We cannot provide a timetable."
It appears that the Peterson case is resolved, so it’s up to the NFL and Roger Goodell to decide whether he should be reinstated immediately or serve some sort of suspension. There is a strong argument that the eight games he has missed (with pay) should count as a suspension since he is not gaining games towards an accrued season, per the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL has declined to put any timetable on the decision, saying only that it will review the court documents.
Then there is the matter of the Vikings welcoming him back. Their initial response was to let him play citing “due process,” but the team received a major backlash from the community and, probably more importantly, their sponsors. This led to Peterson going on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List. Has the fury died down enough for Peterson to rejoin the team? He is signed through 2017, so the Vikings only real option is to cut him, because they can’t suspend Peterson for the same conduct under league rules. Cutting a talent like Peterson seems unlikely, though the Vikings may proceed slowly to gauge community and sponsorship reaction.
The bottom line is that we would certainly add Peterson if he’s available on the waiver wire, but it’s no sure thing that he returns to become a fantasy factor this season. Our rest-of-season rankings will provide a better picture of where he stands among players at his position, but whether owners pick him up will depend on their team’s individual makeup and needs. Still, even if there is only a small chance Adrian Peterson returns to make an impact this season, the upside makes him worth an aggressive waiver wire bid.