Adrian Peterson's discipline settlement unlikely to come this week

While there has been dialogue between the NFL and NFLPA regarding the possibility of reaching a settlement on discipline for suspended star Adrian Peterson prior to a ruling from appeals officer Harold Henderson, the odds of that occurring are not great according to sources with knowledge of the situation. And, if a compromise is struck, it is virtually certain not to come until later in the week at the earliest.

At this point nothing is close, sources said. The NFLPA may have a better court case by waiting to see what Henderson rules -- his decision will come this week -- and then, if he sides with the NFL, seeking an injunction or other measure outside the realm of the NFL appeal process. Sources said the NFL has not made a significant push to settle the matter, either, and any agreement prior to Henderson’s ruling seems remote.

Peterson is currently suspended until at least April 15, at which time he could meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell to seek reinstatement. He has appealed that he should be able to resume playing this season, and while some in the Vikings organization would prefer to move on without him, and it remains to be seen if he would be added to the game-day roster even if reinstated, this battle is more about Peterson’s future earning potential than it is about playing now, sources said.

Several people close to Peterson have been concerned about his conditioning and ability, mentally and physically, to return in-season after being out since Week 1 when news of his indictment on felony child abuse chargers became public. At this point the Vikings are essentially out of the playoff picture and normally a player would require several weeks of practice to get back to the active roster after such a long layoff.

Peterson has displayed rare talent and strength in the past but bringing him back so late and with such potential backlash, is not something that may end up making sense to the Vikings even if he is reinstated.

The real endgame for Peterson is to push for possible reinstatement prior to the start of the NFL’s league year in March, when transactions like trades and free-agent signings can be come official. If his Vikings career is over, and a trade or release is on the horizon, it would be far more conducive to Peterson’s cause to have his suspension lifted before then.

Teams generally spend the bulk of their free-agent budgets in the first few weeks of the league year, his likelihood of having multiple suitors offering significant deals would increase if he could hit the market then, and it’s much easier for the Vikings to set up the parameters of a trade at the combine in February should Peterson be eligible for reinstatement prior to April 15 -- which is close to the draft and when teams would be less inclined to bid on him.

While it may prove impossible to get a court case resolved in time for Peterson to play, certainly substantial time remains between now and March to pursue other avenues of relief for the player prior to the start of free agency. Peterson has the largest contract in NFL history for a running back and he is making more than double what almost every other player is at his position.

The Vikings have long been eyeing his 2015 salary of $13 million (and $15.4 million salary-cap figure) with trepidation and approaching him about a restructuring was a very real possibility even before his significant legal matters arose.

Several NFL contract negotiators and salary cap executives believed Peterson might be in line for a deal worth $5 million to $6 million per season on the open market, and any team trading for him would likely want to re-do his deal beforehand, they said.

Adrian Peterson is currently suspended until at least April 15. (USATSI)
Adrian Peterson is currently suspended until at least April 15. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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