The Minnesota Vikings made an about-face early Wednesday morning when they placed running back Adrian Peterson on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list. The designation means Peterson cannot participate in team activities until his legal proceedings are resolved.
Peterson was indicted by a Texas grand jury for allegedly beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch in May. The Vikings' running back turned himself in on Saturday in Houston, where he faced the charges. He was subsequently deactivated by the Vikings for the team's game against the Patriots and later reinstated on Monday.
From the Vikings' statement:
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to his organization and his community. Adrian expressed his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
The statement, signed by Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, explained the team had discussed this action with the NFL and noted the league offered the designation to the exempt list as a potential solution.
The NFLPA later emphasized that Peterson voluntarily agreed to his placement on the list and that the union was involved in the discussions leading to the move.
"Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Adrian and the Minnesota Vikings to resolve this unique situation. We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Vikings do not plan on cutting Peterson and will bring him back to the team once his legal proceedings are resolved.
The Vikings' reinstatement of Peterson was roundly criticized by fans and media, particularly in light of a second child abuse allegation involving a different young son.
Peterson was expected to enter a plea Wednesday, but the hearing was postponed until Oct. 8. A likely trial wouldn't begin until well after the season.
Moments after the Vikings released their statement Peterson tweeted a photo of an inspirational quote.
The Exempt/Commissioner's Permission List has been used in the past for situations involving off-the-field problems, most notably in 2009 with the Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick. Such a designation means a player no longer counts on a team's 53-man roster.
- Peter Bukowski