Adrian Peterson’s future in the NFL is very much up in the air. While speculation swirls about which team he’ll be playing for next season, the running back is still waiting to be reinstated to the league.
Peterson was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List on Sept. 16, less than a week after it was revealed that he’d been indicted on charges of child abuse. The Minnesota Vikings running back reached a plea deal in November, and was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the final six games of last season.
In February, U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled that arbitrator Harold Henderson’s denial of Peterson’s appeal would be voided. Peterson was placed back on the Exempt List, but following a meeting with Goodell on Tuesday, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport that it’s “highly unlikely” Peterson will face another suspension when he comes off the list. Peterson is eligible for reinstatement April 15.
Having signed a seven-year contract worth as much as $100 million in 2011, Peterson remains under the Vikings’ control until 2017. He’s the highest-paid running back in the NFL, set to earn a base salary of $12.75 million next season. The final year of the deal is set to pay Peterson $16.75 million.
There has been speculation that Peterson wants out of Minnesota, and his agent has said that it’s not in his client’s “best interest” to stay with the Vikings. But Minnesota has made it clear that it has no plans to trade Peterson. Despite the controversy that has surrounded the running back over the last seven months, the Vikings intend to have him as their starter in Week 1.
If the Vikings' management decides to change its mind, a trade would likely happen before the 2015 NFL Draft, Rapoport reported. He named the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals as possible trade partners for Minnesota. The first-round of the draft is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 30.
The draft pool is considered to be deep at running back, and Peterson has already played eight seasons in the league. Still, he’s proven to be the best player at his position since he was drafted, and he remains highly coveted. In his career, Peterson is averaging 1,568 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns every 16 games.
The vast speculation is that there is mutual interest between the Cowboys and Peterson. It was reported before the start of last season that Peterson told Dallas owner Jerry Jones that he’d like to play for the Cowboys when his time in Minnesota is done. After failing to match the Philadelphia Eagles’ offer to DeMarco Murray, many believe that Dallas wants to add the star running back.
Peterson has been a six-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, winning the NFL MVP award in 2012. Minnesota has reached the playoffs three times since 2007, winning one postseason game.