News broke late in the night (or early in the morning, depending on your perspective) on September 17th that the Vikings placed Adrian Peterson on the Exempt/Commmissioner's Permission List. This means that Peterson can have no contact with the team and doesn't count towards the final 53-man roster, but is still paid his full salary. It's essentially a temporary paid suspension until his legal issue is resolved.
The timing of this decision is poor, to say the least, but in this writer's opinion is the best option. For one, it was agreed upon by the Vikings, the NFL, the NFPA and Adrian Peterson himself. It is rare when all of those forces come together in agreement. For those that support Peterson, this allows him to have his day in court to allow the legal process to play out while he still gets paid. This minimizes the loss to Peterson, although it's true that he continues to lose corporate sponsorships during this ordeal, and won't get an opportunity to improve his statistical legacy in the record books for as long as he's off the field. Still, he'll technically remain a member of the Minnesota Vikings and continue to receive a salary while the legal process plays out. That outcome shouldn't be taken lightly and should appease his supporters in part.
For those that do not support Peterson, his placement on this list removes him from the field and away from the Vikings and NFL in the short term. This has to be viewed as at least some kind of punishment, and those that vehemently believe that Peterson should no longer be a part of the team (whether they are fans, media types, corporate sponsors or anyone else who has a stake in Adrian Peterson), will get part of what they want too. At the end of the day, this is the best possible outcome in this writer's opinion. It should be viewed as a compromise solution where both sides on this issue get a little bit of what they want.
And here is why it's the best possible outcome. At the end of the day, if Peterson is found innocent of the felony charges laid against him, he will be able to continue his career in the NFL without suspension. It's true he will have to work to regain the public's trust, and for those that are against corporal punishment, he may never be able to. But his career would not be over in that scenario. This Exempt List status allows Peterson to continue his career if he is indeed innocent of the charges.
If he is found guilty though, I can't imagine that the NFL or the Vikings wouldn't suspend him at that point. I can't begin to speculate on what kind of suspension or even how long would be leveled against Peterson, but his career as he knows it would be over. It's possible that given his punishment, and time served if he's found guilty, that a reinstatement into the league (not unlike what happened with Michael Vick) is possible. If guilty, he would have a chance to right a wrong that he had done, and I believe he should be given that chance at redemption. This new Exempt List status allows Peterson the best possible outcome, given everything that has transpired, in either case: innocent or guilty. Based on the evidence that has been leaked, I find it near impossible that he could be found innocent with photographic evidence and sworn testimony where he admits everything but intentional abuse. In my opinion, I think the most likely scenario is that he is either found guilty by a trial jury, or he accepts some kind of guilty plea agreement to resolve this as quickly as possible.
And speaking of resolving this as quickly as possible, Peterson's first court date is set for October 8th, with an actual trial not likely until early 2015. If Peterson wants a jury trial, then he will likely miss the remainder of the year on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission List. He will miss the next 3 games at a minimum until his first court date anyway. There is a chance that Peterson accepts some kind of plea deal on that October 8th court date. Again, I will not even try to speculate what might happen with his status in the event of a plea deal, but the "legal process" will last anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months' time (or longer).
I was very hesitant to even publish this article here at the Daily Norseman, as many of us are tired of reading ever more opinions on the story. But, I felt it important to provide links to a couple of these stories as it related to Adrian Peterson as they provide excellent facts relevant to the situation that anyone interested in this story should read. I also personally feel that given the allegations and leaked evidence, this is the best possible outcome for Adrian Peterson, for the Vikings, for the NFL and for fans, media and any other outsiders. However, I am not interested in debating any further. I've decided that I will have nothing more to say about his case either in published articles, the comments here at DN or my twitter feed, until we know the final verdict. This is the last bit I will personally write about Adrian Peterson's ongoing investigation. So, the comments section for this article have been disabled. This is my personal decision, and does not reflect any blog-wide decisions regarding the open/closing of comments as it relates to this on-going story involving Adrian Peterson.
UPDATE: If you feel the need to voice an opinion about this article, you may do so in the poll below.