Okay, before everyone goes all crazypants over this, remember that nobody actually knows anything at this point, and you can take this with as many grains of salt as your arteries will allow you to comfortably handle.
That said, in his preview piece for this weekend's NFL action, Peter King of SI.com dropped this little tidbit into the things that he'll be watching this weekend.
With Peterson likely (but not certain) to be reinstated by a league appeals officer, Harold Henderson, next week, the ball would be in Minnesota's court as to whether to activate him for the final three games of the year. We'll hear lots about it this weekend, including whether the Vikings' coaching side is on the same page with the Vikings' front-office.
Honestly, I didn't think that Peterson had a chance in heck when this whole thing started, but maybe the whole thing with Troy Vincent was more damning to the league that anyone thought it was going to be.
Following the conclusion of the hearing, Harold Henderson said that we could expect a ruling "in a week or so." A ruling next week would leave three games in the Minnesota Vikings' 2014 season. . .a road trip to Detroit, a road trip to Miami, and the season finale at home against Chicago.
King does raise a pretty solid point, that being whether or not the Vikings would activate Peterson after all that had happened. Yes, I'm sure that Peterson wants to be out on the field and that fans would love to see him out on the field for the last few games of the season.
Whether anyone likes it or not, that decision isn't going to be up to him.
The team may very well decide that, after three months away, that it might not be worth the risk to put Peterson out there for the final few games of the season. If the Vikings are going to want to attempt to trade Peterson this off-season, they aren't going to want him to get injured. If the Vikings are going to want to keep him going forward, they aren't going to want him to get injured. And after playing one game of football in twelve months, the odds are pretty good that Peterson. . .even with as great a running back as he is. . .simply isn't ready to just jump back into the huddle for the Vikings.
The bigger part of this, in my opinion, would be that Peterson would not have to wait until Tax Day 2015 to potentially be reinstated by the league, meaning that the team would be able to make a decision about his future in a more expedient fashion. Forcing the Vikings to wait until mid-April for Peterson to potentially be reinstated would make things significantly more difficult for them, as the main spending frenzy of free agency would already be over with and teams would be deep into their draft preparation. . .and, in all likelihood, less willing to get rid of draft picks. If the Vikings have the flexibility to do what they wish with Peterson from the start of the free agency period, it would be a significant benefit.
If Henderson does rule on Peterson's appeal "next week sometime," as he said he would, this whole saga could finally come to an end before the conclusion of the 2014 season. Then, as King states, the decision will be entirely in the hands of the Vikings. . .something that it might appear to a more skeptical eye that they've been attempting to avoid throughout this entire process.