12:24pm: As expected, Peterson has accepted a no-contest plea on misdemeanor assault charges, and will sign it before the judge this afternoon, tweets Florio.
TUESDAY, 9:59am: A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Peterson will plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault. If accepted, the agreement will call for Peterson to be placed on probation, pay a $4K fine, and serve 80 hours of community service.
MONDAY, 7:53pm: Even if Peterson works out a plea agreement tomorrow, don’t expect him to be immediately reinstated and return to game action, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While we could see Peterson rejoin the Vikings at some point, notes Rapoport, it won’t be right off the bat.
SUNDAY, 11:18am: Adrian Peterson hasn’t played for the Vikings since Week 1 after being indicted in a child abuse case, and he’s been on the commissioner’s exempt list since September 17. Because the league likely wouldn’t opt to remove him from said list until his case was adjudicated (his trial is set for December 1), the expectation had been that the 29-year-old wouldn’t return to the field in 2014. However, we could be closer to seeing some sort of resolution in the matter, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Peterson’s representatives have been discussing a plea agreement, and the talks could be completed as soon as Tuesday.
With Peterson currently in legal limbo, the NFL can easily claim that it will not address Peterson’s status on the exempt list until the courtroom process has run its course. But as Schefter writes, if Peterson is able to reach a plea deal, the league will be forced to consider taking action on Peterson. For his part, Peterson will surely argue that his case has been resolved, and that he should be able to return to the field, or at least be handed a suspension that would clarify when he could return to action.
Additionally, the Vikings will have to choose how to respond if/when Peterson is able to work out a plea agreement. The club originally supported its star player after the allegations first arose, and were going to allow him to play in Week 3. After fan, media, and sponsorship outcry, however, Minnesota opted to deactivate Peterson once more, and supported the league’s decision to place him on the exempt list. If Peterson secures a plea deal, the Vikings will have to decide how to address the issue once again, and opt whether to stand behind Peterson, enact their own suspension, or wait for the league to take action.
The case could act as a guide for Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who is also on the exempt list while facing domestic violence charges. We learned Friday that Hardy will remain on the exempt list until his case goes to court in January, meaning his season is over. But if Peterson is able to work out a plea agreement, accept a light suspension, and return to game action, could Hardy try to work a similar deal?