On Thursday, the NFL welcomed Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson back to the league, taking his name off the commissioner’s exempt list.
Peterson, 30, can join the team for its offseason activities starting Monday. Peterson said on Monday that he couldn’t commit to joining the team. Peterson told ESPN in February that the Vikings had been non-supportive when he was indicted, adding that putting him on the exempt list constituted an “ambush.” The Vikings released a statement saying, “[We] have been informed by the NFL that Adrian Peterson has been reinstated. We look forward to Adrian rejoining the Vikings.”
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, has asserted that Peterson wants out of Minnesota, but the Vikings have made no bones about wanting him back. He is scheduled to make $12.75 million this season, the most for any running back, his contract runs for three more years.
Indicted by a grand jury on Sept. 12, and added to Roger Goodell’s exempt list with pay on Sept. 17, Peterson pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless injury charges triggered by his beating of his four-year-old son last May. A police report stated that he used a switch to discipline his son, causing injuries to the child’s back, legs, arms, buttocks, and scrotum.
On November 18, Peterson was suspended, but federal judge David Doty ordered arbitrator Harold Henderson to eradicate Peterson’s suspension, prompting the league to place him back on the exempt list on February 26. Peterson had informed ESPN on February 19 that he had met with Goodell’s choice for counseling, Dr. April Kuchuk, to live up to his commitments to the commissioner.
Commissioner Roger Goodell alerted Peterson that he must honor commitments he made to authorities in Minnesota and Texas in addition to the ones he made to Goodell after meeting with him April 7. If he violates the NFL personal conduct policy, he will face a possible suspension without pay.