Several steps must take place before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell makes a final determination on when Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be removed from the commissioner's exempt list and becomes eligible to resume his career, according to a league source.
Those steps include:
• Examining the court documents and police record of Peterson's case;
• Convening experts in domestic violence and substance abuse (since he admitted to using marijuana and could be in Stage 1 of the NFL's drug program);
• Holding a hearing with Peterson and the NFL Players Association. It's possible a direct meeting between Peterson and Goodell will take place unless the commissioner designates someone else as the hearing officer;
• Consulting with the Vikings and the union;
• Applying the personal conduct policy as amended in August, making Peterson the first player to whom the six-game suspension is applied.
On the process, the source said, "There's no hurry but no delay either."
Peterson avoided jail time Tuesday in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors to resolve his child abuse case for the discipline of his 4-year-old son. The running back pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault and a finding of guilt was deferred for two years, while he was fined $4,000 and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.
Once Goodell reinstates Peterson, presuming the commissioner eventually does so, the Vikings would either have to allow the running back to return to the team or release him.
After playing in the season opener, Peterson has missed the Vikings' past eight games with pay, this under the terms of the commissioner's exempt list.
Peterson was indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier this year in suburban Houston. The All-Pro running back says he never intended to harm his son and was disciplining him in the same way he had been as a child growing up in East Texas.
The boy suffered cuts, marks and bruising to his thighs, back and on one of his testicles, according to court records. If convicted of felony child abuse, Peterson could have faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"I truly regret this incident," Peterson said Tuesday. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than anyone you could even imagine, and I'm anxious to continue my relationship with my child."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.