Arbitrator's ruling means Peterson won't play while suspension is appealed


An arbitrator has ruled that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson should remain on the Commissioner's Exempt List until his appeal.

The decision followed a decision by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season. The NFL Players Association announced immediately that it would appeal the decision.

The case has been settled for two weeks since Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge for hitting his 4-year-old son with a wood switch, causing injuries that were visible a week later.

Peterson maintains he was disciplining his child the way his parents disciplined him.

Peterson has been on the exempt list since the case was made public. The list allowed him to be paid, even though he wasn't allowed to play.

According to the Star Tribune, the arbitrator's decision to keep Peterson on the list while appeal is pending is a major victory for the league. But it does mean that Peterson will be paid, while his appeal is pending, the league hasn't set an appeal date yet.

The players association filed the grievance after the league didn't reinstate Peterson following his plea deal.

Reaction to Peterson decision is mixed

While the Vikings didn't issue much of a statement reacting to the league's decision, some of Peterson's teammates had plenty to say.

Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was asked about his reaction to Peterson's situation on KFAN.

Jerome Felton was even more outspoken.

Reaction varies. Former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita said the players actually bear some of the responsibility for the league not having a clear protocol for handling cases like Peterson's.

"I would suggest some help [for Peterson]," said former Vikings receiver Cris Carter to the Pioneer Press. "I would get psychological help. I would get some counseling."

But the man Peterson chased for the single season rushing record in 2012 took a completely different angle.

The Star Tribune opened a comment page for fans to sound off on whether or not they believe Peterson's punishment is fair.

The only thing clear about the whole situation right now is that Peterson's future with the Vikings remains cloudy at best.

According to ESPN, if the Vikings release Peterson during the offseason they would be able to make use of $13 million in cap space during free agency.

"If the Vikings were unsure about what to do with Peterson should he be reinstated this season, the NFL essentially removed that burden from their shoulders. The league also effectively opened a path by which the team can move on from Peterson quietly, with financial justification and enough time to reconfigure the direction of its offense without him. The Vikings have done some of that work already, but if Peterson's suspension is upheld, he wouldn't be eligible for reinstatement until two weeks before the draft. The Vikings will be well into their offseason roster construction process by that point, and it makes more sense for them to chart a different path forward than it does to go out on a limb and assume he'll return."

While it doesn't look like the process is over yet, it seems more likely Peterson's days in a Vikings uniform may have come to an end.

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