Minnesota Vikings: Roger Goodell

MINNEAPOLIS -- The next step in Adrian Peterson's bid to get back on the field is reportedly set for Monday -- which means the Minnesota Vikings will play at least one more game without the running back.

Peterson
Peterson
According to multiple reports Tuesday, Peterson's grievance for reinstatement will be heard Monday, meaning arbitrator Shyam Das should issue a decision before the Vikings' Nov. 23 home game against the Green Bay Packers. The timing of the hearing, though, would keep Peterson out for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears -- and it opens up one scenario in which Peterson could miss the rest of the season.

By the time Peterson's hearing is held, the Vikings will have only six games left on their schedule, meaning he'd be within a window where he could miss the rest of the season if the league decided to suspend him. The NFL plans to review Peterson's case under its personal conduct policy. If Das were to rule Peterson should stay on the exempt list until the league's investigation is complete, any further discipline could keep Peterson out for the remainder of the regular season. The league's enhanced domestic violence policy gives commissioner Roger Goodell the right to suspend players for up to six games (whether Peterson will be subject to a policy updated in August for an incident that happened in May is just one of the questions muddying the case), but if Das were to decline Peterson reinstatement during the league's investigation, even a shorter suspension could consume the rest of Peterson's season by the time it's announced.

That means there's plenty riding on the hearing for Peterson -- and he also has a vested interest in a quick decision since a Friday or Saturday reinstatement might make the Vikings wary of activating Peterson for the Packers game with so little practice time following his 2½-month layoff. But if the Vikings are still deliberating about how they'll handle Peterson should he be reinstated, they've got a clear deadline to meet and won't have to react on the fly like they did when Peterson was indicted Sept. 12. They need to make a clear, well-reasoned move this time, after public backlash forced them to reverse their Sept. 15 decision to keep Peterson on the field during his legal proceedings. It would be in their best interests to have that decision mapped out by next week, in the event the running back is reinstated quickly.

We're still a ways from knowing the outcome of Peterson's case, but we at least know the venues in which it will be decided. That should give all parties time to get ready, and preparedness, hopefully, will eliminate some of the guesswork that has characterized this process so far.

On Minneapolis' Super Bowl chances

January, 31, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In his annual state of the NFL address Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell largely sidestepped the issue of whether the league will award more Super Bowls to cold-weather sites.

Technically, that issue wouldn't affect the Minnesota Vikings' Super Bowl bid, anyway, since the game would be played indoors -- though it might be hard to convince people who would come to the Twin Cities in the days leading up to the game that the weather is a non-factor.

But Goodell did make one point that I thought was instructive to Minnesota's chances of hosting Super Bowl LII.

"There's such a demand for Super Bowls right now," he said when asked about the possibility of including first-time venues in the league's rotation. "The cities that are going to get multiple Super Bowls is limited."

This is largely a gut feeling, but to me, that means two things: The chances of Minnesota being awarded the 2018 Super Bowl in a couple months are good, and the chances of that Super Bowl being the only one the Vikings' new stadium hosts are also considerable.

The Vikings and the state of Minnesota were adamant about not building an open-air stadium in part so they could land major events like Super Bowls, Final Fours and NCAA college football championship games, and the new facility should have the infrastructure to bring each of those events to town, at least once. Considering the fact that four of the six Super Bowls from 2011 to 2016 are being played in new venues -- and the fact the Vikings are competing against two repeat hosts (Indianapolis and New Orleans) for Super Bowl LII -- it seems like the trend would be heading in the Vikings' direction to get the 2018 game.

But consider how many recently-built stadiums either have enclosed or retractable roofs -- and how many cities with milder winters than Minnesota's have been emboldened by this year's game being in the New York area. Would Washington, for example, be able to make a play for a Super Bowl, putting it just outside the nation's capital in a stadium that seats nearly 90,000 people? Could Philadelphia make the same kind of case? The fact that there's precedent now for the big East Coast markets to get in the Super Bowl game probably hurts Midwestern cities like Minneapolis and Detroit, because the winter weather isn't quite as harsh and the infrastructure for big corporate events before the game is already there. And the league will undoubtedly return to reliable warm-weather sites like Arizona, Houston, Tampa and New Orleans, which means the game could be spread around more than it ever has.

Essentially, if Sunday's game goes off without a hitch -- and the forecast right now looks pretty seasonable -- it could serve to dilute the pool of possible Super Bowl sites. I'd be willing to bet the 2018 Super Bowl will be in Minneapolis, but I'd be much less likely to put money on the chances of the Vikings' new stadium getting the game on a semi-regular basis.

More on Jerome Felton's suspension

August, 28, 2013
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We talked yesterday about the long stretch of time between Jerome Felton's drunken driving arrest in June 2012 and the NFL's decision to suspend him three games for that incident, which was finally released on Monday. That delay might have helped Felton establish himself with the Vikings -- as we discussed yesterday, the Vikings might have been more susceptible to letting Felton go if NFL discipline had come before he had a chance to establish himself last season. But the process also provided another window into a piece of the NFL's disciplinary policy that has irked players over the past few years.

Felton
According to a source close to Felton, the NFL notified the fullback of its decision to suspend him in June. However, drunken driving charges against Felton were dropped on April 24, after Felton pled guilty to careless driving. Felton completed community service to fulfill the requirements of the sentence in late June, according to Hennepin County court records, and appealed his suspension in July. The NFL notified Felton on Monday he would be suspended for the first three games of the season, near the same time it announced the discipline to the public.

Felton was first arrested on suspicion of a third-degree DWI, but the charge became a second-degree DWI because Felton had a previous DWI conviction within the last 10 years. That's an important part of this case, because it put Felton under the purview of the NFL's rules for repeat offenders -- even though the second DWI charge against him was dropped.

A NFL spokesperson declined to discuss the case, saying the league will not provide details on the case beyond its initial statement.

Here is what the NFL's 2013 Substances of Abuse Policy says about alcohol-related offenses:
"Absent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will generally be a fine of two-seventeenths (2/17) of the amount in Paragraph 5 of the NFL Player Contract to a maximum of $50,000. If the Commissioner finds that there were aggravating circumstances, including but not limited to felonious conduct or serious injury or death of third parties, and/or the player has had prior drug or alcohol-related misconduct, increased discipline up to and including suspensions may be imposed. Discipline for a second or subsequent offense is likely to be a suspension, the duration of which may escalate for repeated offenses."

Essentially, it seems the NFL treated Felton's case as an alcohol-related offense, even as its discipline came after those charges had been dropped. The league's personal conduct policy clearly gives commissioner Roger Goodell the right to issue fines or suspensions whether or not criminal charges were filed, so there's not much recourse for Felton here. But his suspension is an example of Goodell's far-reaching power, and in this case, the running back will miss three games because of an incident that might have earned Felton stiffer punishment from the league than it did from the law.

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