Going into the 2014-15 NFL season, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was guaranteed to be one of the top 5 picks in most Fantasy Football leagues. Peterson is the only running back in a long time that has been able to sustain an elite level of play for nearly seven years. There was some skepticism about drafting Peterson over some other high-profile running backs, because he is now 29 years old and had a disappointing last year compared to his 2012 season. In 2012, Adrian Peterson had one the greatest seasons of any NFL player ever by racking up 2,097 yards and averaging six yards per carry. It is hard not to take the risk of drafting an athlete with such phenomenal capabilities as soon as possible.
Peterson began the 2014-15 NFL season with a strong start. In ESPN’s Fantasy Football leagues he scored 11.3 points by rushing for a respectable 75 yards. Peterson was many Fantasy Football owners’ first overall pick, but a few days after an impressive performance, the news broke that Peterson was arrested for child abuse. This is a conflicting situation for many Fantasy Football owners. This is a heinous crime that Peterson is being charged with, but with the way the NFL has been mishandling such situations as of recent, there was a chance Peterson wouldn’t be punished by the league. Owners had to decide their priority: morals or winning? It could be hard for some people to root for a man who abuses children. Shortly after the reports came out, the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Peterson for week two, but Fantasy Football owners had to fight the temptation of releasing Peterson from their teams because Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, had yet to give his judgment.
With week three approaching, there is still no word from Goodell and there were rumors of Peterson possibly playing against the New Orleans Saints. Those rumors were confirmed after the Vikings were annihilated by the New England Patriots. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman called a press conference announcing the reinstatement of Peterson to the team. Moments later, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf released a statement on the Vikings’ website, saying “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process.” Fantasy Football owners everywhere rejoiced.
The question now is, what is more important to the Vikings: money or wins?
Sponsors began releasing statements against the Vikings’ decision to reinstate Peterson with the team in the midst of these child abuse charges. Fantasy Football owners should have been running to the waiver wire, because there was no way Peterson was playing now. After two days of uproars by sponsors, fans and Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Vikings put Peterson on the never-before-seen Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List. Being placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List removes Peterson from all team activities while he is being charged with child abuse.
This has almost been as much of a stressful couple of weeks for Fantasy Football owners as it has been embarrassing for the NFL. Fantasy Football owners are used to dealing with players battling injuries like Doug Martin and Roddy White. Peterson, along with players Ray Rice and Jonathan Dwyer, foster stress and uncertainty. Fantasy Football owners could have been relieved of some stress if the NFL would make strong decisions, and make them quickly. It would be surprising if Roger Goodell lasts another year as commissioner of the NFL.