One day after Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was eligible to be reinstated, the NFL issued a 211-word statement today that announced his return, effective Friday, while warning him to continue his counseling and not step out of line again.
The Vikings, meanwhile, quickly released a 23-word reaction that was a simple nod of recognition of the news and a welcome back for the 2012 NFL MVP. The team knew this day was coming soon and already has expressed its support of Peterson with public comments from ownership, the front office, coaching staff and players in recent months.
Here is the statement from the NFL:
“Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was advised today that effective tomorrow he is reinstated as an active NFL player and may participate in all scheduled activities with the Vikings.
“In a letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell, Peterson was informed that he is expected to fulfill his remaining obligations to the authorities in Minnesota and Texas, as well as the additional commitments Peterson made during his April 7 meeting with the commissioner regarding maintaining an ongoing program of counseling and treatment as recommended by medical advisors.
“Beyond the requirement to comply with his court obligations and plan of counseling, Peterson was reminded that his continuing participation in the NFL depends on his avoidance of any further conduct that violates the Personal Conduct Policy or other NFL policies. Any further violation of the Personal Conduct Policy by Peterson would result in additional discipline, which could include suspension without pay or banishment from the NFL.
“Peterson was suspended without pay last November 18 for the remainder of the 2014 NFL season for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in an incident of abusive discipline that he inflicted on his four-year-old son last May. Peterson pled no contest on November 4 in state court in Montgomery County, Texas to reckless assault of the child.
Here is the Vikings’ statement:
“The Minnesota Vikings have been informed by the NFL that Adrian Peterson has been reinstated. We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings.”
Those final eight words essentially are all the Vikings feel they need to say about their plans for Peterson amid a flurry of trade speculation that will only heat up as the draft approaches in two weeks.
The Vikings’ offseason training program starts on Monday. It’s unlikely that Peterson, who has expressed some reservations about returning to Minnesota, will participate in the voluntary workouts and OTAs. The first mandatory gathering is the team’s mini-camp on June 16-18.
Peterson hasn't played since last year's season opener in St. Louis. He rushed for 75 yards on 21 carries, caught two passes for 18 yards and didn't score in a 34-6 win at St. Louis.
The following Friday, he was indicted in Houston on felony charges related to the injuries he caused while disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch. The Vikings deactivated him for Week 2, announced the following Monday that he would return and changed course two days later when the NFL stepped in amid an outcry from the public and the team's corporate sponsors.
Peterson was placed on the newly-created commissioner's exempt list. He was moved to the suspended list on Nov. 18 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault of his son.
Peterson ended up back on the commissioner's exempt list on Feb. 27 when U.S. District Judge David Doty overturned an arbitrator's ruling that sided with the league over Peterson. Rather than reinstate Peterson then, the league moved him back to his original list while it appealed Doty's decision.
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told reporters at last month’s NFL owners meetings that it would be “in Peterson’s best interests” to play elsewhere. But General Manager Rick Spielman has said the team has no interest in trading the 2012 league MVP and are standing behind a contract that has three years left on it and includes $12.75 million this season, a league-high for a running back.