I don't think the Vikings are concerned about the reaction of the public or concerned about losing sponsors if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates Adrian Peterson in the near future.
Peterson is still on the commissioner's exempt list despite clearing up his court case last week. The Vikings star running back has missed eight games after being charged with injuring his 4-year-old son in October, and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor last week in Texas.
The Vikings are now waiting for the league to act. In a statement today, the team said: In regards to Adrian Peterson's status with the Minnesota Vikings, at this time his potential reinstatement is under NFL guidelines. As an organization, we respect and understand the league’s process. In the interim, our focus is on the team and preparing for this weekend's game against the Bears.
Don't be surprised if the league fines Peterson heavily before reinstating him. He was drawing his entire salary while on the exempt list. He is making $11.7 million dollars this season. Peterson will likely have to fork over some money to charity.
The Vikings (4-5) want Peterson back so he can help them on the football field. But obviously they also want to know how well he can play, since he has three years remaining on his contract after this season. He is unlikely to play out his contract, which runs through 2017, and the Vikings could release him after this season with very little effect on their salary cap. If Peterson comes back and plays like he did two years ago, when he was the NFL's MVP, the team would probably keep him for 2015.
It's just one opinion, but Hartman is close to the team and probably has a good idea how they feel about Peterson this time around. Hartman said it's clear Peterson wants to play, and that the Vikings want him back. Some of his teammates have said he is working out diligently and will be ready to go the moment he is reinstated. The NFL Players Association is determined to force the NFL to let Peterson come back immediately, claiming the original agreement was that Peterson could return as soon as his court case was cleared up. The league could still suspend him since he wasn't really punished getting paid this whole time. Peterson is likely off your wire, and for those who have him, you may as well let this play out. The Vikes sit at 4-5 and AP could theoretically help them make a playoff push.