Despite a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen over the weekend that said it's unlikely Adrian Peterson will play again this season, the star running back's mind remains set on helping the Minnesota Vikings before the football season ends.
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, NFL Players Associaion union executive George Atallah said Peterson "wants to play this season," according to a report by the Pioneer Press.
Peterson is awaiting a ruling from arbitrator Harold Henderson on last week's two-day appeal hearing. Henderson is expected to make a decision, to either reinstate Peterson or uphold the season-ending suspension imposed on Peterson by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. If Henderson rules against Peterson, his six-game suspension will go into effect and because there are only three games left this season, the punishment could carry over to the first three games of the 2015 season.
Goodell, who issued the suspension after Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault in a case that began with a felony child abuse charge, ruled that Peterson cannot be considered for reinstatement until April 15, 2015. So, if Henderson upholds the suspension, Peterson could remain in NFL limbo or take further legal action.
The NFLPA is also at odds with Goodell and his ability to punish players however he wants. That could be changing, according to a report Wednesday from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Whatever ruling comes this week for Peterson, he still believes he has a lot of Hall-of-Fame-level football to play.
"People say, 'Oh, running back hits 34, 35 (and he's done). When you get to 30, you go down.' I don't believe that," said Peterson in a recent interview with USA TODAY. "I believe I'm just now here in my prime. I believe these next five or six years -- or however long I decide to play -- it's going to be the same production and I'm going to do even better than I did before in my 20s."
NFL.com notes that scientific research shows that running backs produce less as they reach ages 28, 29 and 30, with production levels dropping 15-40 percent during those years. Peterson turns 30 in March.