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Adrian Peterson Could Face Discipline Even If Cleared

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few days since we gave people an opportunity to make ridiculous excuses for Adrian Peterson, so let's remedy that.

Since this whole ordeal started, many people. . .myself included. . .thought that if the matter of Peterson being accused of causing injury to a child went to trial and he was found innocent, he would be able to come back to the Minnesota Vikings (if that's what the team wanted). After all, when the Vikings suspended Chris Cook during 2011 for his fight with his girlfriend, his matter went to trial that off-season and he was not subject to league discipline after he was found not guilty.

Well, according to a report that came down yesterday from Chris Mortensen at ESPN, that might not be the case after all.

If Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is found not guilty of a felony child abuse charge in Texas, he could still face a personal conduct suspension without pay from the NFL, according to sources.

One area of consensus that was reaffirmed in last week's league meetings is that violation of workplace rules and personal conduct should not require a conviction, the sources said.

Any facts established in a legal proceeding can be found as a personal conduct violation regardless of the legal outcome. This has been a practice Goodell has exercised in prior cases involving Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Marshall and Adam "Pacman" Jones.

After the league screwed up the Ray Rice matter as badly as they did, they'll almost certainly be looking for an opportunity to, if I can borrow a phrase from the Vikings, "get it right" on this one.

Personally, at this point, I really don't give a damn about Adrian Peterson and/or whether or not he ever plays another game in the National Football League, whether it's with the Vikings or otherwise. This entire incident has basically torpedoed the team's 2014 season, turning what appeared to have at least a little bit of promise into a huge, swirling morass of garbage. And while his teammates do their best to fight through it with an offense that was supposed to, largely, be based around him, Peterson's getting about $700,000 a week to sit at home, (admittedly) smoke pot, and watch it all burn.

That's probably going to offend some people. To those people, I say "too damn bad." If people want to continue making excuses for the guy as though he's somehow bigger or more important than the Minnesota Vikings, that's on them. There might have been a time where he was almost bigger or more important than this franchise, but that damn sure isn't the case now.

And just so we're clear. . .there's one person that's responsible for the situation that Adrian Peterson is in right now. It's not the mother of Adrian Peterson's child that took the child to the doctor. It's not the doctor that found the wounds and called the authorities (as a medical professional is legally bound to do). It's not Montgomery County, Texas. It's not the state of Texas. It's not Mike Zimmer. It's not Rick Spielman. It's not Zygi Wilf. It's not Roger Goodell. It's not the National Football League. It isn't anyone at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It isn't anyone at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It isn't anyone at 1500 ESPN. It isn't anyone at the big ESPN. It damn sure isn't me or Ted or Eric or Skol Girl or Kyle or Mark or Arif or Di. And it isn't some nameless, faceless mob that has it in for Adrian Peterson or the Minnesota Vikings.

No, the only person that's responsible for any of this is the guy that Adrian Peterson sees when he looks in the mirror every day. And the sooner that this matter ends and stops casting a shadow over the Minnesota Vikings' franchise, the better. I can only hope that it happens sooner rather than later.