When Will Adrian Peterson Return To The NFL — And What Jersey Will He Wear If He Does? [UPDATE: He'll Play This Week]
Eric Goldschein 11:23 am, September 15th, 2014
They may not be an NFL career more in flux at the moment than that of Adrian Peterson's. Ray Rice is suspended indefinitely, but he should expect to sit out the rest of the year, at the very least, until another team gives him a chance. Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, could return as early as this week -- that is, if he doesn't go to prison for two years.
Peterson was indicted and arrested last week for reckless or negligent injury to a child after he took a switch to his 4-year-old son, leaving brutal lacerations all over the kid's body. But unlike Rice's attack on Janay Palmer, Peterson's actions appear to have some defenders -- namely, NFL players who were hit by their parents as well. In fact, Texas -- where this reported abuse took place -- is one of 19 states that still allow corporal punishment of childrenin schools. How the Vikings and the league choose to discipline Peterson could be the most controversial ruling yet.
While Peterson faces two years in prison, his trial likely won't begin until next year. Will he return to the field before then? And if so, will he still be a Viking?
The Vikings are reportedly considering deactivating Peterson again this week, depending on what information they receive on the case. So regardless of what the league decides, AP may be out in Week 3. (See UPDATE below.)
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier reports, Peterson's case will actually be reviewed under the NFL's brand-new and controversial domestic abuse policy, according to Jay Glazer. If this had been a personal conduct case, AP might not have faced suspension -- if this is considered a domestic abuse case, he'll get at least six games, and perhaps more considering a child was "present" (and was in fact the target of the abuse).
And though the Vikings will probably not cut Peterson, they could look to trade him, according to the New York Post. It would be difficult to trade a soon-to-be 30-year-old running back facing a possible prison sentence, of course -- but if anyone would get looks anyway, it'd be a transcendent talent like AP. Is this how Peterson becomes a Cowboy? (Probably not, since Dallas is already over the cap next season -- but Jerry Jones is one of the only owners willing to withstand the firestorm of criticism in order to get his man.)
Bottom line: AP fantasy owners shouldn't expect to see their first-round pick back on the field until Week 8, at the earliest. Have you picked up one of his backups yet?
UPDATE: The Vikings have decided to let Peterson play this Sunday, releasing this statement today: