Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings star running back mired in a child-abuse scandal, was placed on the NFL’s exempt list, barring him from all team activities until his case is resolved, the team announced early Wednesday morning.
“After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian,” Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization.
“We embrace our role — and the responsibilities that go with it — as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.”
Peterson was indicted last week in Montgomery County, Texas, on a felony count of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The charge stems from a whipping incident that left bruises and wounds on much of his 4-year-old son.
Peterson’s next scheduled court date is Oct. 8, unless he negotiates to have the matter resolved at an earlier date. Montgomery County first assistant district attorney Phil Grant said it could be several months before the case would go to trial.
The NFL suggested — and the Vikings and Peterson agreed — that the running back would be placed on the exempt list. According to the league’s personnel policy manual, only commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to place a player on the exempt list as it is a “special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances.”
The NFL Players Association was informed of the decision and discussed its options regarding challenging it. Peterson, however, chose to accept the designation. The Vikings will continue to pay Peterson his full salary, which is $11.75 million this season.
Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press that “this is the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
“Adrian understands the gravity of the situation, and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian, and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence.”
The NFLPA also issued a statement Wednesday supporting Peterson’s decision.
“Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues,” the statement said. “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.”