What Peterson and Dogra did not disclose is the running back’s desire to return — or not to return — to the Minnesota Vikings next season.
Peterson’s ongoing battle with the NFL continues after the league announced it will appeal Doty’s ruling. But Peterson and the NFL Players Association earned some concessions Thursday when Doty released his 16-page ruling. The league appealed to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, a process which could prolong any resolution.
"I was pleased to learn about Judge Doty’s decision," Peterson said in a statement. "It is a positive step in protecting players’ rights and preserving due process for all players. It also brings me one step closer to getting back on the football field and playing the sport I love. As I prepare for my return to football, I am still focused on my family and continue to work to become a better father every day. I want to express my gratitude for all of the support I have received from the fans, NFLPA, Jeffrey Kessler, and my agents Ben Dogra, Tracy Lartigue, and Mark Heligman from Relativity Sports."
As a result of Doty’s ruling Thursday, Peterson was taken off the suspended list and placed back on the commissioner’s special exempt list. The move allows Peterson contact with the Vikings, who can also terminate or restructure Peterson’s existing contract to make him the league’s highest-paid running back. Minnesota can also trade Peterson when the new league year begins on March 10.
"I am pleased that U.S. District Judge David Doty recognized the merits of Adrian Peterson’s case and ruled in his favor," Dogra said in his own statement. "This is an important moment for Adrian, players’ rights and the NFLPA. Adrian is an exceptional community member, father, husband and athlete who will continue to contribute meaningfully on and off the field. Any NFL team will be fortunate to have Adrian on its roster as he will consistently serve as a strong leader and impactful performer."
Peterson has three years remaining on the contract he signed with Minnesota in 2011 and is due $12.75 million in 2015. Peterson currently holds a $15.4 million salary-cap figure for the Vikings, who would only be charged $2.4 million in dead money against the cap if they released him.