It’s April 15. Which means that the window is closing on paying your taxes. (We prefer that you visit PFT from a device other than the Commodore 64 in the Brooks Hatlen Memorial Library.) It also means that the window for reinstating Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is open.
As the league reminded NBC News in an explanation provided earlier today, Peterson won’t necessarily be reinstated on April 15. Instead, the league determined last year that Peterson would not be considered for reinstatement before April 15, and that the first consideration for reinstatement could come on April 15.
There’s no commitment or requirement to reinstate Peterson on April 15. Instead, Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to conduct the first “periodic review” on or about April 15.
That gives the NFL flexibility. Which gives the NFL the ability to do what it usually does: Whatever it wants to do.
And the NFL may want to keep Peterson out a little longer, as a form of not-so-subtle retaliation for the lawsuit that vacated the suspension. With the legal appeal process slowly unfolding (as appeal processes usually do), the NFL could choose to give Peterson what he has asked for — a court case that necessarily takes time.
In this specific situation, time could be on Minnesota’s side. A delayed reinstatement beyond the 2015 draft could make it harder for a reasonable trade to be negotiated. Which could make it easier for the Vikings to keep him, if that’s what they want.
But the Vikings can’t act like they’re content with that. At some point, the Vikings need to push back against the NFL, if only to demonstrate loyalty to Peterson.
So if Peterson isn’t quickly reinstated, keep an eye and an ear on the Vikings. If they issue a statement expressing disappointment with the NFL and/or support for Peterson, they could be trying to mend fences with Peterson. It could be too late, but it’s the kind of gesture that could cause Peterson to believe that the franchise has his back, after all.