On Friday, the NFL Players Association gave the NFL a deadline of 5:00 p.m. ET Monday to reinstate Vikings running back Adrian Peterson from the Commissioner-Exempt list. With 5:00 p.m. ET Monday looming and Peterson not yet reinstated, it’s highly unlikely that he will be.
The next step will be the filing of a non-injury grievance aimed at compelling Peterson’s reinstatement. If filed promptly, a hearing could be held and the case could be resolved before Minnesota’s next game on Sunday, at Chicago.
The argument will be that the NFL has reneged on the agreement that placed Peterson on the Commissioner-Exempt list until his legal case had been resolved. The NFLPA believes that, with the legal case now resolved, Peterson should exit the Commissioner-Exempt list and play pending discipline under the personal conduct policy.
A victory doesn’t mean Peterson won’t be suspended. Instead, it means he’ll be able to play until the NFL decides whether and to what extent he should be suspended in the wake of his misdemeanor no-contest plea to assault charges.
But a victory will mean that Peterson can play, indefinitely. It’s possible that the NFL has opted not to honor the terms of the agreement because the NFL hopes an arbitration ruling will provide cover for the league, in the event fans, the media, and/or sponsors react negatively to Peterson’s return. If he ends up playing because of a successful grievance, the league can claim that it tried to keep him out.