It appears the tables have turned.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Doty overruled the NFL’s denial of Adrian Peterson’s appeal, saying that NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson “disregarded the law of the shop” and “failed to meet his duty” under the collective bargaining agreement.
Thus, the denial of the appeal has been overruled, but Peterson has not yet been reinstated.
What does this all mean?
“What it means is that he’s probably going to be reinstated sooner than April 15,” MMQB NFL writer Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That was the original schedule that the NFL had set as the earliest date he could be reinstated. There’s no question at all that he’s going to be reinstated before April 15.”
But when? Where do we go from here?
“There has to be a meeting of the minds right now between the NFL and the NFLPA on what is a fair adjudication of the suspension,” King said, “because it makes no sense to go on with this now because basically the NFL has lost. The arbitrator has ruled basically that (Peterson) should be back. So I don’t think it’s going to be very long before Peterson actually is reinstated and is property again of the Minnesota Vikings.
“The NFL argued that a paid leave is not a suspension – and technically, it isn’t,” King continued, delving into the ruling. “But if you’re Adrian Peterson and you miss 15 games, regardless of whether you get paid for it or not, I don’t care what you call it. The fact is, he can’t apply his craft. He can’t do his trade. So essentially, it means, in my opinion, what Judge Doty is saying is that the penalty already has been harsh enough and that the NFL’s original ruling by Harold Henderson was too onerous.”
Still, it’s hard to believe that Peterson will ever play for the Vikings again.
“Well, I think there’s two questions to ask,” King said. “Will the Vikings release Adrian Peterson? And I think the answer to that is no. Will he ever play for the Vikings again? I think the answer is doubtful. And I think what it means is that somebody out there is going to have to come up with a trade for Adrian Peterson, which is complicated.
“Let’s just take the Dallas Cowboys, for instance,” King continued. “In my opinion, at least as of now, I doubt sincerely they’ll put the franchise tag on DeMarco Murray, but they still want DeMarco Murray back. If they are stuck with DeMarco Murray and he’s demanding $12 million a year or some huge sum that they don’t want to pay, they could easily say, ‘We’ll let you go,’ make a trade for Adrian Peterson and sign Adrian Peterson to a new contract so they don’t owe him $13 million for this year so they can have a more manageable cap number on their franchise running back for 2015.”
Speaking of the Cowboys, King is in no way surprised that Dallas has not offered Dez Bryant a long-term contract.
“I’m not sure that they feel like they can trust him long-term,” King said. “Whether it’s because of this issue, this reported issue, this rumored issue or because of – as (Ian) Rapoport has reported – the fact that police have been called multiple times to his home in the Dallas area since he’s been a Cowboy. I just think that it makes sense right now. The puzzle pieces look like they fit together – that there’s probably a reason why Dez Bryant hasn’t been offered the guaranteed money that he believes he should get in a new contract as a franchise receiver.”