|2014 Regular Season|
Peterson's absence was expected, of course, given his expressed disinterest in returning to the organization. Even in a normal year, Peterson's presence during the offseason has been rare. He spent some time in Minnesota last year to get acclimated to coach Mike Zimmer's staff, but Peterson's preference has been to prepare with his personal trainer at home in the Houston area.
The league announced its decision on Thursday. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent Peterson a letter advising him of his reinstatement. Goodell wrote that Peterson will have to fulfill all the obligations of his plea deal with authorities after he reached a plea deal to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor.
Peterson was suspended under the NFL's personal conduct policy through at least April 15 due to a child abuse case involving his young son, a decision he appealed. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he planned to meet with Peterson before that date to determine his status.
Two people with knowledge of the visit, speaking Tuesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed that Peterson met with Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman in the New York area. This was a sequel of sorts to a trip that Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer took last week to Peterson's home outside of Houston.
General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer spent about four hours Wednesday afternoon at Peterson's home north of Houston. Photographers captured Spielman and Zimmer leaving together, dressed in sport coats and blue jeans. This was the first time meeting they've had with Peterson since the star running back was placed on the exempt list in mid-September following his indictment in a child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son.
Several high-ranking Vikings officials have expressed their desire to bring Peterson back in recent weeks, and Spielman's comments to reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis were the strongest yet. Spielman, however, declined to comment about whether or not the Vikings would ask Peterson to restructure his contract. His deal calls for a salary cap hit of $15.4 million in 2015.
It was more criticism of the disciplinary process that Peterson and the union have derided as arbitrary and unfair since punishment was levied by the NFL after the running back was charged in a child abuse case involving his son. He resolved the case with a plea bargain last year. Peterson and the union would prefer a ruling before March 10, when the league's free agency and trading period starts.
Attorneys for the NFL Players Association are scheduled to argue Friday for the Minnesota Vikings running back's reinstatement from a suspension levied by the league under its personal conduct policy.
Spielman says he has no doubt Peterson "is going to play at a very high level when he comes back." When asked if he wants Peterson back on the Vikings, Spielman said, "I don't know if there's a team in the NFL that wouldn't want Adrian Peterson on their football team."
The petition was filed Monday in Minnesota, where the NFLPA has often gone to contest labor matters with the league. Peterson was suspended without pay for the remaining six games of this season by Commissioner Roger Goodell as a result of the child-abuse case that has kept the six-time Pro Bowl pick out of all but one game this year. Arbitrator Harold Henderson on Friday affirmed the penalty issued by Goodell, which Peterson appealed.