Sources: NFL nixed Peterson reinstatement after plea deal

The NFL rejected an attempt by Adrian Peterson’s camp for immediate reinstatement following his plea agreement on Tuesday and refused to engage in discussions regarding a settlement over his playing status, two sources informed of the discussions told FOX Sports.

Peterson’s camp, which included the NFL Players Association, his agent Ben Dogra and his lawyer Rusty Hardin, kept the NFL informed of the progress of plea-deal discussions to let Roger Goodell and other league executives know an agreement was imminent, the sources said. Short of immediate reinstatement, Peterson’s camp hoped to at least come to an understanding on what the Minnesota Vikings running back would need to do in order to be return to the field and how quickly that could occur.

The sources said the NFL executives made it clear a decision on Peterson’s status would be forthcoming, and the league would inform Peterson at that point.

Peterson and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy both agreed to be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list in the wake of public pressure on the league and the players’ respective teams to take them off the field while their legal processes played out. Both players have been paid their salaries in full. Many considered the moves a rare use of the exempt list, which had previously been reserved for players coming off suspensions, like former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick following his imprisonment on dog-fighting convictions.

On Tuesday, Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. He was fined $4,000 and must serve 80 hours of community service. Peterson initially faced felony charges of child abuse for allegedly hitting his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

The NFL announced Thursday that it has begun a formal review of Peterson’s case under the league’s personal conduct policy. The league requested information from Peterson, and his status on paid leave will not change while the investigation is underway.

The Vikings (4-5) have won two straight games to pull within a game and a half of a playoff spot. Though they’re still considered by many to be a long shot to make the postseason, their chances of playing in January are certainly better with Peterson on the field.


The team initially stood by Peterson and planned to have him return to the lineup in Week 3 following one game in which he was inactive, but the pressure from fans and team sponsor Radisson Hotels nudged them and the league into shelving Peterson until his legal process played out.

The Vikings issued a short statement after Peterson’s plea agreement was finalized, saying only they’d have "further comment at the appropriate time."