If Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson suddenly pleads guilty Tuesday in Texas to whipping his child, only one of the many questions surrounding his unusual case may be immediately answered.

On Monday, speculation swirled that Peterson was on the verge of entering into a plea agreement at Tuesday's Montgomery County court hearing, even though his lawyer had earlier insisted that he wanted the case to go to trial. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, however, suggested that any agreement was still being negotiated and that "matters to be decided now, then, and at the hearing will determine what happens, if anything."

Both the National Football League and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer deflected speculation Monday on what might be next for Peterson, who had been the face of the franchise until early September, when he was indicted in Texas for whipping his 4-year-old son. Of the Vikings' nine games, Peterson played in just one before being placed on the NFL's exempt list with pay.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, sidestepping whether Peterson could face a multigame suspension even after a guilty plea, said simply that "his status would be evaluated once we have the facts."

Addressing reporters a day after the team's latest victory, Zimmer said only that "when all that happens, we'll talk about it."

For some, the news of a possible plea agreement did not change opinions. A spokeswoman for Radisson, the Minnesota-based hotel chain that suspended its corporate sponsorship of the Vikings after Peterson's indictment, said the company would not alter its stance. "We're just going to wait by the sidelines," said Molly Biwer, speaking for Radisson, which is owned by Carlson Cos.

Others also were being cautious. The Texas Council on Family Violence, which said it had previously received a financial donation from Peterson, one of the NFL's most popular players, said Monday that it would have to see the details of any plea agreement before commenting further. Following Peterson's indictment, Gloria Aguilera Terry, the council's chief executive, said that the group "offer[s] our breadth of services to guide Adrian in his continuing evolution as a good, loving father."

'Uncharted territory'

Peterson's case may be especially challenging for the NFL, given the league's continuing image and legal problems involving players and domestic violence.

During Sunday's NFL games, a public service announcement was aired featuring NFL players — including New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning — as part of the "No More" campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.

A Star Tribune poll, meanwhile, found that nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans felt that Peterson should be released by the team or not play until his legal case is resolved.

In addition, Peterson complicated an already tangled case even more last month when he reportedly told a court official before providing a urine sample that he had been smoking marijuana.

"We're in really uncharted territory," said John Wendt, a professor of ethics and business law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "There's a core group of fans that will forgive anything. [You] start making these runs for 90 yards and a touchdown, [and] people are sometimes quick to forgive.

But "man, oh, man — this is hitting a kid, a defenseless kid," said Wendt.

Wendt added that the case — should Peterson enter a guilty plea — will again be especially tricky for Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. "I can hear what they're going to say — '[The] system worked. There's no reason why he can't play,' " said Wendt. But "behind the scenes, they've got to be thinking, 'My God, what are we going to do next?' "

In the Vikings locker room Monday, some of Peterson's teammates said they'd like to see the star running back return.

"We'd be happy to have him back. He's a leader on this team," said Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon. "Everyone knows he's a leader and what type of guy he is, regardless of what people say."

Staff writers Matt Vensel and Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.