Tuesday was one of the craziest days in a long time for the NFL – and that’s saying something. The league suspended Adrian Peterson without pay for the rest of the season, and an arbiter upheld Roger Goodell’s ruling – all in the span of a few hours.
“It was a crazy development,” Associated Press Minnesota Vikings reporter Jon Krawczynski said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Just because I really do believe that everyone following this story – the media, fans, certainly I think you can lump Adrian Peterson and his representatives into this category, and the Vikings as well – no one really knew what to expect. I mean, this is kind of unprecedented, these waters that we’re wading into. As late as last week, I do think there were people in the Vikings organization that thought Adrian Peterson would eventually play for the team again this season, that he would come back. But today, the ruling comes back from Goodell. It’s backed up essentially by the arbiter later in the evening, so he remains on the exempt list and cannot come back while he’s appealing this suspension.
“It’s kind of chaotic right now,” Krawczynski continued. “You couldn’t really put it any other way. No one really knows the reasoning exactly behind these moves. No one knows what is going to happen here going forward with this appeal. Everyone’s on shaky ground. It’s really making for just a totally chaotic atmosphere around Winter Park.”
Under the terms of the suspension, Peterson cannot apply for reinstatement until April 15, 2015 – which is one month after the start of free agency. Thus, the Vikings could save $13 million in cap space if they cut Peterson, which seems more likely by the minute. After all, Peterson will be 30 by then and his name will have been dragged through the mud.
Bottom line? Peterson has very likely played his last down for the Vikings.
“I don’t think you’re crazy at all (to think that),” Krawczynski said. “The scuttlebutt surrounding Adrian Peterson and his future with the Vikings (began) before the season – before any of these allegations came to light. (The general consensus was) he may be in his last year here because of the money that he’ll be making, because of the age that he’s going to be hitting pretty soon. We all know that most running backs hit a wall at about 30 and just really decline quickly. There were a lot of people that thought his days might be numbered here.
“But certainly all of this – the actions by the commissioner, certainly Adrian Peterson’s actions as well – have really given the Vikings cover here to part ways,” Krawczynski continued. “The way that it’s set up now, barring some unbelievable turn of events here, I don’t think you’re going to see Adrian Peterson in Minnesota ever again playing in purple. He’s going to have to go somewhere else to find employment, and he’s probably going to have to do it on the cheap.”
Krawczynski said the feelings toward Peterson in Minnesota are mixed. There’s a large group of people who feel he’s served his time and should be able to come back, and there’s also a large group of people who say he’s crossed the line and is getting what he deserves.
Can Peterson ever be in Minnesota’s good graces again? Can he ever overcome this?
“I think Adrian Peterson absolutely can overcome it,” Krawczynski said. “I think he has enough equity built up to get past this eventually, but it’s definitely going to take time. His image has certainly taken a hit here.”