It’s been less than 48 hours since Adrian Peterson’s NFL suspension was overturned, but one thing that seems certain is Adrian Peterson doesn’t seem too inclined to return to the Minnesota Vikings, and the team appears to feel pretty much the same way.
There is still a ton of confusion, hurt feelings, and controversy concerning Adrian Peterson. The best running back in the league is still trying got make it back onto the field after dealing with his legal troubles over the harsh disciplining of his young son. According to NFL.com, U.S. District Judge David S. Doty has ruled in favor of Peterson, granting an NFL Players Association motion to vacate a previous suspension. Once this ruling was overturned, the NFL simply put Peterson back on the Commissioner’s Exempt List so this is all still a murky situation to say the least.
There appears to be some doubt as to whether the Vikings really want Peterson back, although they are publicly saying they do. The Vikings say they look forward to “welcoming (Peterson) back when he is able to rejoin our organization.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement to get their best player back as soon as possible. It’s corporate speak. And it’s understandable. Minnesota doesn’t want to be seen as supporting his behavior in the spanking incident. While their public image is a concern, money is a big factor as well. Shocker right?
Peterson will count $15.4 million against the salary cap in 2015. He will be a 30 year old running back earning a healthy chunk of his team’s payroll. That is fine for the next couple of years, but what about three years from now when he is bound to be on the decline. Backs over 30 do not get better. That is a fact and even though Peterson is a physical freak, he is no match for father time. It may sound crazy for the Vikings to try and shed Peterson right now, but if they want to save money, now is the time. The NFL is a cold hard business and Peterson has put himself at a disadvantage with this court case.
The NFL no longer cares what the legal system says about these abuse cases. The Shield is out to protect its own brand. If that means sitting a guy like Adrian Peterson, they will do it gladly. They are not going to be soft on cases like this ever again. That’s why Peterson got put back on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and it’s why the Vikes are not jumping for joy over Peterson’s win with the appeal in court.
Even though I know Peterson sells a lot of tickets in Minnesota and he is the best player they have, I would try to get rid of him. He won’t be able to live up to his contract in the next few seasons. It’s as simple as that and the Vikings are going nowhere fast anyway. A Super Bowl is not in the near future for this mediocre team.
This isn’t about whether Peterson was right or wrong with his discipline methods. This is about a team running a business. They lost Peterson in 2014 when he was still in his prime. They can choose to keep the player and hope he stays at the top of the league for the remaining time left on his deal. That’s just rolling the dice though and successful businesses are not run that way. Neither are successful NFL franchises.