It's Up To Adrian Peterson's Viking Teammates To Save His Minnesota Career
As you may have heard, the Vikings organization has reversed field and decided that Adrian Peterson won't play this week, or the week after, or until his legal issues are "settled." His next court date is set for Oct. 8, with the trial not expected to start for months -- unless his legal team gets everything moved up.
Some are saying that Peterson's career in Minnesota, and perhaps in the NFL, is over at this point. But there's one thing that would ensure Peterson's return to the field, in purple, if he's cleared of his child injury charges: If the Vikings are good.
Don't get it twisted: The Vikings reinstated Peterson for Week 3 because they wanted to win. They thought this case would be like so many domestic abuse issues the league has seen over the years -- swept under the rug, disregarded in the face of our collective love for the game. But times are different now, thankfully, and it would have been impossible for the team to play Peterson with this case hanging over him and the team -- not to mention with sponsors dropping left and right.
But if Peterson beats the case in Texas, what would stop the Vikings from bringing him back?
Whether Adrian Peterson plays again this year will depend on when legal case is resolved. But Vikings intend to bring him back, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2014
And yes: There's a good chance Peterson gets off with a slap on the wrist here. He's got no criminal record, appears contrite, and he seems to have support from a good portion of his peers and the country in regards to his actions. It may be very difficult for white northern sportswriters to understand how someone could beat his kid to the point of leaving open wounds and call it "discipline," but from we're hearing about Peterson's upbringing, he considers it normal. This is what his father was like, via USA Today:
[Friend David] Cummings says he and Peterson were leaving football practice while in middle school when Peterson's father, Nelson, was waiting near the parking lot.
School officials had called Nelson Peterson to report that Adrian had been disruptive in class, recalled Cummings, who played football and basketball with Adrian Peterson during their youth and through high school.
"His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him," Cummings said.
With that, Nelson Peterson unstrapped his belt and whipped Adrian Peterson in front of more than 20 students, Cummings said.
Many football players and analysts have come to Peterson's defense, such as Greg Anthony, who said it's only "opinion" that Peterson is guilty of a crime. Technically, AP may have broken Texas laws -- but don't be surprised if a jury gives him a break.
If Peterson has his issues resolved by November, and the Vikings are in the midst of the playoff hunt (currently, every team in the NFC North is 1-1), there would be no reason for the team not to bring him back. They'll be paying him $11.75 million this year anyway, and he's one of the best players in the league. Barring a breakout by rookie Jerick McKinnon, the Vikings will need a boost in the backfield to make serious noise in December. If the Vikings are out of the running by the time Peterson can return, it's a lot more likely that the team will cut ties with him and the remainder of his $96 million deal to avoid the headache.
So don't write AP off yet. If he can play, he will. And if he will play, he'll play well. And if he plays well, even if the Vikings end up cutting him this offseason, he'll almost certainly find a new NFL home. Like in Dallas.
Photo via Getty
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