With fewer than four weeks until the start of his trial on felony child-abuse charges, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will reach an agreement today to resolve the case.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Peterson will plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault. The plea will not include reference to family violence or violence against a minor.
If the agreement is accepted by Judge Kelly Case, Peterson will pay a $4,000 fine, be placed on probation, and perform 80 hours of community service. Technically, the adjudication of the case will be deferred for two years.
The next question becomes whether the NFL will impose a suspension on Peterson above and beyond the eight games he already has missed with pay. Although Peterson agreed to the existing arrangement, the paid suspension helped the league and the team avoid a major P.R. mess. Unless he would be suspended more than eight games for the incident, he should be reinstated for Minnesota’s next game against the Bears.
Regardless of what the NFL does, the NFL needs to move quickly and decisively. Hopefully, the league has given careful thought and consideration to the situation. Even more hopefully, the ultimate decision won’t create the impression that the NFL is flying by the seat of its pants, making things up as it goes.
The NFL surely has been aware of the possibility that Peterson would strike a deal. The NFL needs to be ready to make a swift decision now that the case has been resolved. And that decision needs to reflect the first implementation of rules and standards that will apply to all players like Peterson — especially since his decision to avoid a trial helped the league avoid several news cycles of further embarrassment.