MINNEAPOLIS -- Now that the NFL has announced it will review Adrian Peterson's case under its personal conduct policy, it's a good time for a refresher on Peterson's status and where the Minnesota Vikings running back goes from here. In some cases, we've got to take an educated guess at what happens next, since the outcome of Peterson's case with the NFL seems unclear to just about everyone involved. But here are five questions and answers about Peterson's status and his future in the league.
How soon will the NFL make a decision about whether Peterson will be reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list?
Nothing seems imminent at this point. The league announced on Thursday that Peterson's case will be reviewed under its personal conduct policy, and requested that Peterson submit relevant information regarding his case, as well as meet with experts who will advise commissioner Roger Goodell. It doesn't sound like that process will end quickly, and even though the Vikings have a bye this week, they still might not know Peterson's status by the time they take the field on Nov. 16 in Chicago. Peterson has been paid roughly $691,000 a week during his time on the exempt list, and how the NFL handles bringing him off the little-used list could set precedent for other players in similar situations. That could weigh into the league's calculations about Peterson's status.
Do the Vikings want Peterson back?
At this point, that seems unclear. Essentially, the situation boils down to this: On the field, Peterson is unquestionably an asset to the team, and considering the Vikings' situation -- they're 4-5 at the bye and have a forgiving schedule over the next seven weeks -- he could give their offense a boost. But the Vikings' initial announcement that they would keep Peterson on the field during his legal proceedings drew a sharp, visceral rebuke from legislators, sponsors, media members and a segment of the fan base, and the team is certainly mindful of the public relations backlash that could come with putting Peterson back on the field. The Vikings continue to deliberate about next steps, and they've got a tricky set of circumstances to navigate.
What is Peterson's future beyond this season?
He will be 30 in March, and is due to make $12.75 million next year plus $250,000 for a workout bonus. The Vikings would save $13 million if they released him after this season, and they've been able to develop a functional running game in his absence with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. In light of all that, it seems plausible the Vikings cut Peterson after this season, whether or not he plays for them again in 2014.
How soon would Peterson be ready to play if the league reinstates him?
His attorney, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN's "Mike & Mike" on Wednesday that all Peterson has been doing is working out during his time away from the Vikings, and knowing Peterson, it'd be hard to expect anything less. He came back from ACL surgery with a vengeance in 2012, and won league MVP honors after running for 2,097 yards; those close to him think he'd be even more fired up this time around. In the time Peterson's been away, though, the Vikings' offense has shifted to accommodate rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater; they've thrown the ball nearly 60 percent of the time since Bridgewater became the starter, and operate primarily out of the shotgun at this point. Peterson would have to adjust to the changes in the Vikings' offense since he's been gone. His physical shape, though, shouldn't be an issue.
Does Peterson want to be in Minnesota?
No one has heard much from the running back in the past month; his Twitter account has gone quiet, and he only made a brief statement after his plea bargain was finalized on Tuesday. He's stayed in contact with teammates and running backs coach Kirby Wilson throughout the process, and his teammates enthusiastically have said they'd welcome him back. Even if the process has put a strain on Peterson's relationship with the Vikings, his connection with his teammates and his desire for redemption would likely be enough to fuel him in Minnesota, at least for this season.