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Adrian Peterson To Plead Not Guilty; 2014 Return Highly Unlikely

Hannah Foslien

If you're one of the few that's still holding out hope (for whatever reason) that running back Adrian Peterson will be back in a Minnesota Vikings' uniform at any point this season. . .well, it's probably not happening.

According to his attorney, Rusty Hardin, Peterson will plead not guilty when he appears in a Montgomery County (Texas) court tomorrow morning. Hardin also says that it's very likely that any trial will not take place until 2015.

His first appearance before Montgomery County District Judge Kelly Case initiates a pre-trial schedule court officials say would extend well into 2015, effectively scuttling Peterson's chances of rejoining Minnesota during the 2014 season.

"If he's asked to plea it will be not guilty," said Mary Flood, spokeswoman for Peterson's Houston-based defense attorney, Rusty Hardin. "We would like a trial sooner than later, but I can't imagine one concluding before the end of the season."

Peterson is currently on a special exemption list, with the Vikings having been allowed to place him there by the National Football League. (Carolina Panthers' defensive end Greg Hardy was placed on the same list not long after Peterson was.) He will remain on that list until his legal issues are solved. Even if he were to plead guilty and strike some sort of a deal, the National Football League would undoubtedly come down on him hard as a result. (Why wouldn't they, given how badly they screwed up the Ray Rice case?)

So, there will be another step taken in the legal saga surrounding Adrian Peterson on Wednesday morning, but that saga is nowhere near the finish line.