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Week 12 Thanksgiving 10-pack

Packers Lions Football

We’ve moved the Friday 10-pack to Thursday, since posting it on Thursday puts the Thanksgiving games in play for our 10 takes regarding the coming weekend of games.

I also needed to get it done early because I’ll be spending Thursday night preparing to host The Dan Patrick Show on Friday, a process which may look a lot like achieving and maintaining a turkey-induced stupor.  Primarily because that’s precisely what it will be.

1.  At least the NFL tried to give us good games on Thanksgiving.

Every year, complaints arise regarding the quality of the games played on the fourth Thursday in November.  This year, the NFL did something about it.

Though the Lions continue to have a hammerlock on the early game, the NFL picked the Patriots to be the visiting team.  (Because CBS will televise the game, the road team had to be from the AFC; this year, the choices were the Jets and the Patriots.  Either way, a quality opponent would have been pegged for the game.)

For the afternoon contest, the NFL earmarked a game that, as of April, looked to be one of the 10 best of the year — Saints at Cowboys.  Though the Cowboys’ struggles have made the game less intriguing, the NFL opted not to take advantage of its captive audience by offering up the weakest home game on the Dallas schedule.  (Then again, the Lions already were booked.)

The night game — Bengals at Jets — also looked as of April to be a potentially great game, given that the Bengals and Jets both made the playoffs in 2009.  Who knew that the Bengals would be after 10 games The 2-Ocho Show?

Short of moving Thanksgiving to September, the risk that games that looked great in April will be relevant in November applies to every NFL season.  All we can ask is that the NFL attempt to provide quality games.

Even if the Lions and Cowboys would lose their automatic home games, there’s no way of knowing that the games picked prior to the season will involve quality teams by the time the games are played.  What if the Vikings had “earned” a home game on Thanksgiving as a result of their 2009 performance?  Or the 49ers, based on the widespread belief that they’d be much improved in 2010?

In April, every season is a crapshoot.  At least the NFL has finally decided to shoot for something other than crap on Thanksgiving.

2.  Favre could thrive under Frazier.

The decision of Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier to keep brett Favre at quarterback makes sense.  Frazier will earn the job for 2011 only by winning games, and Farve at quarterback gives Frazier the best chance to do that.

The Vikings don’t need to know what Tarvaris Jackson can do; he had relevance only when a change of quarterbacks may have belped salvage a playoff berth.  And Frazier has no interest in developing Joe Webb to become the possible starter for the next regime.

So what of the notion that Favre will continue to produce more turnovers than a baker on an IV full of Red Bull?  Without former coach Brad Childress peering over Favre’s shoulder and constantly telling him what to do and what not to do, it’s entirely possible that Favre will perform better.

Even though reeling off six in a row likely won’t be enough to edge out one of the three-loss teams currently in position to take both of the wild-card spots, a strong finish to the season would partially rehab Favre’s fading legacy — and it would give Frazier a fighter’s chance at keeping the job.  Having Childress out of the picture will make if easier for Favre to just relax and play.

3.  Delhomme’s revenge.

Earlier this year, the Carolina Panthers discarded quarterback Jake Delhomme like an empty bottle of screw-top wine.  And for good reason.  Ever since the completion of the 2008 regular season, Delhomme had been playing like a guy whose Gatorade had been spiked with a full bottle of screw-top wine.

On Sunday, Delhomme will get his first start since Week One, due to Colt McCoy’s ankle sprain.  Coincidentally, that start will come against the Carolina Panthers.

So the game will provide Delhomme with a shot at redemption, a chance to prove the Panthers wrong.

Then again, given that Delhomme received a contract worth $20 million guaranteed before the 2009 season, it’s the Panthers that should be thinking about revenge.

Either way, the link gives a sliver of meaning to an otherwise meaningless game.

4.  It’s getting no easier for Mike Vick.

If the Eagles and quarterback Mike Vick struggle at Soldier Field on Sunday, it’ll be easy to blame the Sports Illustrated jinx, given that he graces the magazine’s cover this week.  But we’re not much for jinxes, unless the person to be jinxed allows himself to think that the jinx exists.

For Vick, the bigger concern should be opposing defenses studying ever bit of tape from his performances to date, building on game plans that slowed him down and trying to devise the one tactic that will shut him down and/or knock him out.

Though the Bears present the latest challenge, a pair of games against the Cowboys, a rematch with the Giants, and a date with the Vikings remain.  With each passing week, defenses will be trying even harder to be the team that solves the Vick riddle, preferably by putting him back on the injury report.

Look for the Bears, mired in a seven-quality-teams-but-only-five-spots chase for the postseason, to pull out all the stops.

5.   Monday night loser could still be alive.

Thanksgiving weekend wraps up with a Monday night game between the 49ers and Cardinals.  It presents a rare stinker on ESPN’s 2010 slate.  But it’s not as bad as it appears, if we ignore the fact that each team has a record of 3-7.

If the 5-5 Seahawks lose on Sunday against the Chiefs, the loser of Monday night’s game will remain only two games out of first place with five games to play.

Sure, the loser will be a woeful 3-8.  But if we can get past that won-loss record, the reality is that the loser can still get hot in December and steal the division and reset its record to 0-0 in the single-elimination tournament that will commence with the NFC West champion hosting a playoff game.

6.  In Atlanta, home-field advantage possibly hangs in the balance.

The game of the week undoubtedly occurs in the Georgia Dome, where the red-hot Packers take on the red-hot Falcons.

Under quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons have won 18 games and lost only one at home.  Under quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have scored a total of 76 points in consecutive games against the Cowboys and Vikings.

The Packers are more than a good offense; their defense has allowed only 10 points in three games, including the pitching of a shutout of the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

With these two teams destined to play beyond January 2, this game will go a long way toward determining where the second game may occur.  And regardless of what happens this time around, the location of a January rematch will have a lot to do with its potential outcome.

7.  Keep an eye on Tom Brady’s foot.

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has no qualms when it comes to talking about his injuries.  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is more apt to talk about his hair.

And so it’s impossible to know the exact diagnosis of and prognosis for Brady’s current foot injury, which caused him to miss practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and to be listed as questionable for Thursday’s game, a rare departure from his usual designation as probable.

Sporting a defensive line that could give the Patriots flashbacks to Super Bowl XLII and a Detroit team that is otherwise irrelevant in NFL circles, it’ll be interesting to see whether these Lions use their rare national spotlight as an occasion to roar, by pouncing on Brady’s bum foot.

8.  Colts are suddenly in trouble.

If the season ended today, the Colts’ season would be over.  And while they’ll play four of their final six games at home, the Colts face the prospect of missing the playoffs — and of winning fewer than 10 games — for the first time since Jim Mora refused to use the “P” word.

The slide very well could continue on Sunday night, when the surging Chargers come to town.  The Chargers have played the Colts well in recent years, providing Indy with a consistent thorn in their side.

And while both of the quarterbacks have had to overcome injuries to their supporting cast on offense, the Chargers are getting healthy a lot faster than the Colts.  And the Chargers will have receiver Vincent Jackson back, for the first time all year.

It could spell trouble once again for the Colts.  At 6-5, the Colts would have to make like the Chargers and finish strong in order to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

9.  Bucs get their chance to impress.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have handled every team they’ve faced, with the exception of the three elite franchises they’ve played — the Steelers, Saints, and Falcons.

This weekend, the Bucs draw the Ravens.  On the road.

On paper, this is another game that Tampa should lose.  If the Bucs find a way to win, it’ll be time to take this team seriously.

Actually, it’s already time to take this team seriously.  With upcoming games against the Redskins, Lions, and Seahawks, 10 wins could be in the offing.  With the Ravens, Falcons, and Saints also on the docket, victory in any one of those games will help the Bucs do the unthinkable — nailing down coach of the year honors for Raheem Morris, and possibly executive of the year recognition for Mark Dominik.  With a roster devoid of pricey veterans, the Bucs are one of the few teams that is playing like a true team.

10.  Chargers are following form, and will likely continue to do so.

After the Chargers lost five of their first seven games, we said (one or twice, or more often) that the team eventually would try to follow a slow start with a fast finish — and fail.

But the Chargers have shown that they can do it again, reeling off three wins and moving to within a game of first place in the AFC West.  And they’ll likely continue their climb to the playoffs.

Where they’ll likely lose in one of the first two rounds.

While, as mentioned above, they match up well with the Colts, the Chargers eventually would face the Patriots, Jets, Ravens, or Steelers.  And with five losses already in the standings, the Chargers will have to take their pass-first offense to an open-air stadium in the Northeast.  In the middle of January.

Moving forward, and as our friend Scott Caplan of XX 1090 in San Diego pointed out during our weekly Wednesday morning radio visit, the Chargers should redouble their efforts to figure out why they can’t win more games in September and October.  If they could emerge into November and December with a better record, they’d be able to force some of the other elite teams to San Diego in January.

Hey, at least the Chargers wouldn’t have to face a long flight home after losing.

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NFL and NFLPA have agreed on new drug policy

nfl_u_smithgoodell_jh_600 Getty Images

Well, this is a total coincidence.

The NFL has something positive it would like to announce.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the league and the NFLPA have reached agreement on a new drug policy.

The announcement is expected soon, the NFL needs all the other news they can muster to deflect from the shameful way they’ve done business lately with the Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson cases.

Now that the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed, we can expect several players to be reinstated or have their suspensions reduced, among other changes.

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Peterson’s agent: This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances

Adrian Peterson AP

The Vikings changed their decision about running back Adrian Peterson’s availability following his indictment on charges reckless or negligent injury to a child early on Wednesday morning and placed him on exempt/commissioner’s permission list.

Peterson will not play for the Vikings again until his legal proceedings related to the case have run their course and Peterson’s agent Ben Dogra told the Associated Press that he and his client feel that the current arrangement is best for all involved.

“This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances,” Dogra said. “Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence.”

Ed Werder of ESPN reported that the NFLPA asked Peterson if he wanted to challenge the team’s decision, but, as Dogra’s comments make clear, Peterson accepted the move to the exempt list. The growing number of sponsors expressing dissatisfaction with the Vikings’ plan to play Peterson made it clear that Peterson wasn’t going to wind up on the field this Sunday and probably not until the case was resolved, which makes settling it as soon as possible the best way for Peterson to return to the football field. His first court date is currently scheduled for October 8 in Houston.

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Vikings owners finally set to talk about Adrian Peterson

Vikings Stadium Football AP

So far, the Vikings have been willing to let their employees take the bullets for them.

Now, we’re finally going to hear from the desk at which the buck stops.

The Vikings have announced that ownership will address the Adrian Peterson situation at a noon ET press conference.

It’s a good move, too late for Zygi and Mark Wilf.

Sending poor General Manager Rick Spielman out to take the bullets for the ridiculous decision to let Peterson come back after a weekend off was dishonorable. So was changing their mind in the middle of the night, as if no one would notice.

They’ll get a chance to address all that today.

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Goodell “never intended” to hear Ray Rice appeal

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Two years ago, the NFL aggressively defended the ability of Commissioner Roger Goodell to handle the appeal of the suspensions he imposed on the Saints players accused of participating in Gregg Williams’ bounty program.  Eventually, Goodell handed the baton to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.  Who overturned the suspensions.

Now, the league won’t be fighting for Goodell’s right to run the Ray Rice appeal party.  According to the league office, Goodell “never intended” to handle Rice’s appeal.

This means that Goodell will grant the NFLPA’s request that he recuse himself from the appeal.  Which means that someone else will handle it.

Ultimately, Goodell has the right to designate a hearing officer.  For now, a decision hasn’t been made.

It could be someone from the league office.  But the NFLPA has asked for a truly independent arbitrator.

Maybe it should be Tagliabue again.

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Gus Bradley: “Far too many” mental errors by wide receivers

Marqise Lee, Chad Henne AP

The Jaguars haven’t had Cecil Shorts in the lineup for the first two weeks of the season, leaving them to roll with three rookies at the top of the depth chart at wide receiver.

As you might imagine, there have been a lot of mistakes from players playing their first games in the NFL. As you’d also probably imagine, those mistakes have agitated head coach Gus Bradley.

Bradley said that the number of mental errors that Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson made in the Week Two loss to the Redskins was in the “double digits.” He termed that “far too many” and said that the team has already pared back the playbook to a point where he feels the players should be able to handle what’s asked of them.

“Are we asking too much? Is there too much in the game plan? Or, in turn, do they need to be held accountable for what we’re asking them to do and they need to feel a stronger sense of accountability?” Bradley said, via the Florida Times-Union. “It’s a young group, but that’s no excuse. We’re all in the NFL now. The demands we place on them, they have to be able to handle that. We’ve already cut back quite a bit. I think at times we’ve got to teach some of the players that the responsibility falls on them.”

The Jaguars will have Shorts back this week if his hamstring allows and that should help, but it won’t suddenly turn rookies into savvy veterans who have everything down pat and the loss of tight end Marcedes Lewis makes it hard to take too much off of their plates. Throw in a very shaky offensive line and it is easier to understand why the Jags are hesitant to throw Blake Bortles into the lineup at this point in the season.

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Falcons sign punter Matt Bosher to five-year extension

Atlanta Falcons v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Falcons may not be whole on offense this week, but they’re making sure to take care of their special teamers.

According to Field Yates of, the Falcons have signed punter Matt Bosher to a five-year contract extension, which will keep him with the team through 2019.

The deal includes $5.95 million in guarantees, including a $2.5 million signing bonus.

The Falcons drafted Bosher in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and he was entering the final year of his rookie deal.

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Wednesday morning one-liners AP

The Bills have to get better in the red zone.

The Dolphins say they’re committed to the ground game.

The Patriots know their offense has work to do.

After a timeout cost the Jets dearly on Sunday, is it time to revisit the rules on timeouts in the NFL?

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is trying to put the Ray Rice-related distractions behind him.

Said Bengals LB Jayson DiManche of being an undrafted player who earned a roster spot, “I’m a realist, and I knew going into the draft that there was an opportunity that I wouldn’t get drafted. So I went into it with the mindset that it doesn’t matter if I get drafted or not.”

The Browns may have future training camps in Columbus.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is still in pain after a hard hit from Baltimore’s Courtney Upshaw last week.

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins is speaking up for the Houston Food Bank.

Colts QB Andrew Luck needs to be better than the ordinary quarterback he’s been so far.

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley wants his rookie receivers to get better.

The Titans’ 3-4 front is getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

The Broncos and Seahawks will battle Sunday for NFL supremacy, at least through Week Three.

Chiefs K Cairo Santos knows patience is thin in the NFL, and he can’t afford many more missed field goals.

Chargers pass rusher Dwight Freeney is off to a good start.

Raiders QB Derek Carr is athletic, smart and gets the ball downfield, according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

If the Cowboys run more and QB Tony Romo throws less, that’s fine with Jerry Jones.

Will Giants WR Odell Beckham finally play this week? Maybe.

Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins has made a difference in Philadelphia’s secondary.

Joe Theismann is standing by his preseason comments that Kirk Cousins was outplaying Robert Griffin III.

The Bears are still searching for a replacement for Devin Hester in the return game.

Can the Lions get any thinner at cornerback?

Packers WR Randall Cobb got his work ethic from his parents.

Dealing with the media hasn’t been easy for Vikings players.

The Falcons’ run defense will be tested by the Bucs.

Panthers rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin is going through growing pains.

The Saints have made their mistakes at the worst times, which is why they’ve lost two close games to start the season.

Bucs RB Bobby Rainey has come up big in the early part of this season.

Cardinals QB Drew Stanton says there’s an art to being a backup.

Rams S Rodney McLeod is proving his doubters wrong.

The 49ers are missing Aldon Smith as a pass rusher.

In Seattle, 71 percent of TV viewers on Sunday afternoon were watching the Seahawks game.

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Silence on Peterson could hurt Commissioner more than Rice case

Goodell Getty Images

As the Vikings tripped and skipped and clumsily changed course while trying to balance the post-Rice reality of the NFL with the desire to get something in return for the millions to be paid to a face-of-the-franchise player, the league office had nothing to say publicly.

Well, not nothing.  The league office said over the weekend that the child-abuse charges against Adrian Peterson would be reviewed under the personal-conduct policy.  Other than that, crickets.

While in recent years the league office has been willing to empower teams to fashion remedies for rough situations, failure to say or do anything (other than to say the case would be reviewed) in the wake of the release of evidence making it obvious that (1) Peterson did what he’s accused of doing and (2) the pictures of the injuries to his four-year-old son were hard to look at, the league office stuck its head in the sand.

On one hand, it confirms that the league office has reacted to the Ray Rice fiasco by adopting a siege mentality.  On the other hand, it has created a reality in which the league office allowed the Vikings to bumble and fumble their way through a maze of mirrors, harming if not destroying the franchise’s credibility and creating a league-wide problem that, in the wake of the team’s initial decision to let Peterson return, eclipsed the coverup-is-worse-than-the-crime scandal that emerged last week when the Rice video surfaced.

Setting aside the question of whether the not-so-independent investigation by Robert Mueller or the Ray Rice appeal or some other vehicle will generate evidence that triggers a decision by the owners to change Commissioners, the lingering inability of the Commissioner to be the Commissioner could result in a decision by the owners to change Commissioners.

While obvious that Roger Goodell couldn’t attend the first regular-season game ever at Levi’s Stadium, it was nevertheless stunning that the Commissioner of the NFL couldn’t attend an NFL game.  Now, with no public words or actions from the Commissioner in connection with media, fan, and sponsor reaction that cried out for visible leadership, the owners have to wonder whether they still actually even have a Commissioner.

Ditto for the Panthers, who are grasping and flailing their way through the Greg Hardy case, with no public comment or action from the league office.  Ditto for the 49ers, who are forced to continue to defend their decision to let Ray McDonald play his way through a domestic violence investigation with no words of support from 345 Park Avenue.

It creates a clear impression that the Commissioner consciously is avoiding any situation for which he could be further criticized, especially where the facts have any similarity to the Rice case.  At some point, it could result in the owners realizing that, regardless of how things got to this point, a new Commissioner is needed simply because the current Commissioner can’t currently be the Commissioner.

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Despite hot start, Bengals facing blackout this week

Andy Dalton, Andrew Whitworth AP

The good news just keeps rolling in for the NFL.

One of the league’s good news stories — on and off the field — could be facing the league’s first television blackout of the season.

According to Richard Skinner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals aren’t confident they’re going to get to the 85 percent threshold of tickets sold to get the game on local TV.

“Of course we would like see stronger sales and have the game be on TV, and we thought we gave a chance for all of our fans to see us that way by taking on the league’s threshold, but we have a way to go this week,” Bengals ticket manager Andrew Brown said. “We will be staffed accordingly the next few days and hopefully we have a strong [response].”

While there’s plenty of reason for fans to be dissatisfied in other precincts, the Bengals have been a ray of sunshine this year.
Not only are they 2-0 for the first time since 2006, but they’ve got one of the feel-good stories of the league, as people have rallied around defensive tackle Devon Still during his daughter’s fight with cancer.
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Steelers confident Marcus Gilbert will bounce back

Elvis Dumervil, Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Gilbert AP

Several problematic issues have cropped up in the first two weeks of the Steelers season.

Some of them are widespread, like the defense’s problems stopping the run and the penalties that have plagued the team on both sides of the ball. Some are more specific, like the four sacks allowed by right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that he isn’t overly worried about Gilbert, who signed an extension through 2019 before the season, and credited Elvis Dumervil’s talent for some of the tackle’s struggles last Thursday. He also said he’s confident that Gilbert will bounce back.

“You play 60-plus snaps [in a game], if you give up two sacks it’s a bad game. It is what it is. That’s the nature of our business, and I’m sure as a tackle that’s a challenge that he embraces,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m not concerned about Marcus and his ability to rebound from that, his mentality in regards to that rebound. He was in the building yesterday [and] had a good day. I expect him to come back fighting like Rocky.”

Gilbert said he’s identified things that need to be corrected, which he called “nothing catastrophic,” and that he thought he played a “heck of a game” outside of the two sacks. Tackle is the kind of position where two bad plays can blow things up for the entire offense, though, so the Steelers need their faith in him to be rewarded for 60 full minutes in the weeks to come.

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Ravens hoping to get a break on Will Hill suspension

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The Ravens are hoping for some good news from the league for a change.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, there’s “guarded optimism” from the team that suspended safety Will Hill will benefit from the league’s pending new drug policy.

Hill was suspended six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, after two previous suspensions, one for substance abuse and one for performance enhancing drugs.

The Giants cut him this summer after the third suspension, which he claimed was for “second hand smoke.”

If that’s true — and why wouldn’t it be — he could benefit from the increased marijuana thresholds of the new policy.

“I have no sense of that at all,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “No one has spoken to me about that, and I don’t know a thing about that right now. I’m interested in it, though.”

Hill can obviously play, but that was never the issue. If he gets back on the field, the Ravens got a cheap boost, since he’s there on a one-year, $570,000 deal.

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Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman hurt lifting weights

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Cowboys defensive linemen have injured themselves in a variety of ways this year and now you can add lifting weights to the list.

Defensive tackle Davon Coleman hurt his left calf while working out on Monday and was on crutches in the team’s locker room on Tuesday. Coleman explained that he was doing squats when he suffered the injury, but downplayed its seriousness.

“I’ll probably play this week,” Coleman said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m happy it was in the weight room instead of the field because it’s nothing too serious.”

Coleman signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in the spring and got a start in the season opener with Henry Melton still making his way back to full speed. Coleman played a lot in Week Two as well, recording five tackles in the victory over the Titans, and has seen the fourth-most snaps of all Cowboys defensive linemen over the first two games.

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Peterson now has clear incentive to get his case resolved quickly

Peterson Getty Images

The Constitution gives all citizens the right to a speedy trial.  Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will want to have his trial today, if possible.

The Vikings, after bungling the situation on Monday and then finding a way out of the weeds late Tuesday, have created for Peterson a situation in which he now has an extreme incentive to resolve the criminal charges pending against him.

Peterson is gone until the legal process is resolved.  So he’ll try to resolve the legal process as soon as he can.

Of course, this now gives prosecutors extreme leverage.  With Peterson hopeful to put this behind him so that he can get back to football, he will be more likely to plead guilty to the current charge or a lesser offense in order to put this situation behind him and to return to the NFL.  While a suspension under the personal-conduct policy surely is looming once the situation ends, the sooner Peterson ends the situation, the sooner he gets suspended and returns to football.

When that happens isn’t known.  Where that happens is even more unknown.  The Vikings’ gross mishandling of the situation on Monday makes it hard to ever bring Peterson back.  It also makes it hard for anyone to bring him in.

Not long ago, the topic du jour focused on Peterson’s reported desire to play for the Cowboys after his time with the Vikings ended.  That seemed speculative and distant and highly unlikely.  It now seems prescient — assuming that the Cowboys would be willing to welcome him to the team.

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Bills buyer Terry Pegula meets with finance committee today

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The NFL gets to the the kind of business it would prefer to be doing today.

According to WGRZ in Buffalo, prospective owner Terry Pegula will meet with the league’s finance committee today, the next step in the process of his purchase from the family of the late Ralph Wilson.

Pegula has offered $1.4 billion in cash for the Bills.

The owner of the Buffalo Sabres is a popular choice locally, since he’s calmed concerns about the team relocating.

If his bid is approved by the finance committee as expected, the deal will be voted on by the owners at their October 7-8 meeting.

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Vikings place Adrian Peterson on Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, won’t be with team until legal matters are resolved

Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have reversed course on Adrian Peterson’s reinstatement to the team and have placed him on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which will require Peterson to remain away from all team activities until the resolution of his legal proceedings.

The Vikings released a statement early Wednesday morning that announced their decision regarding Peterson. The pressure was building on the organization after their decision to reinstate Peterson on Monday. Sponsors were beginning to speak up and politicians called for Peterson to remain suspended.

Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf finally elected to alter their decision and found a mechanism to keep Peterson away from the team indefinitely while his legal matters are addressed. The lengthy statement from the team is as follows:

“This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

“We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role — and the responsibilities that go with it — as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.

“While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.

“We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision.”

The Vikings did make an admirable move in getting ahead of the story when they deactivated Peterson for last week’s game against the New England Patriots. However, they made a misstep in bringing him back to the team so quickly while this matter hangs over Peterson.

They have now realized their error and corrected it. With Peterson’s first court hearing not scheduled until October 8, it certainly doesn’t appear he’ll be playing for the Vikings again any time in the near future.

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