The San Francisco 49ers play host to the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, and we are one step closer to finding out if that game will include running back Adrian Peterson. Late last year, Peterson was suspended under the personal conduct policy for his child abuse case. As I understand it, based on that decision, Peterson was eligible for reinstatement on April 15.
Thursday morning, federal district court judge David Doty vacated the arbitrator's ruling upholding the suspension. The NFLPA and others are proclaiming that it overturned the suspension. However, I don't know if that is technically the correct word. It was remanded to the arbitrator for further proceedings consistent with the ruling (PDF). I suspect this means Peterson will be reinstated for good, but there are still some things to be resolved. The NFL has a right of appeal from this, so this is not finalized.
Even if the NFL backs down and Peterson is good to go for 2015, he might not stay with the Vikings. He is under contract to them, but there has been plenty of speculation about his future. There has been a lot of speculation that the Vikings would trade or release Peterson. He has a $15.4 million cap hit in 2015, and considering the PR nightmare he has become, it would not be surprising to see the Vikings make some changes.
By potentially reinstating him now instead of mid-April, it opens the door for the Vikings to deal him when the league year starts in a week and a half. If they had to wait until mid-April, who knows how the marketplace would look. For example, there are rumors Peterson wants to go to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have to decide what is up with running back DeMarco Murray. If AP is not available until April, maybe they re-sign Murray. If they can negotiate a deal in the next two weeks, maybe they do that instead.
There is still a decent chance Peterson is playing for the Vikings when they come out to Santa Clara. This decision could get that squared away sooner rather than later.