Vikings announce Adrian Peterson will play Sunday as NFL hires domestic violence experts


The Minnesota Vikings announced beleaguered running back Adrian Peterson will play this Sunday – at virtually the same time the NFL announced the formation of a domestic violence task force.

The team released a statement Monday morning announcing Peterson's availability within minutes of the league announcing the appointment of three women as domestic violence advisors.

Peterson "will fully participate in this week's practices and meetings and is expected to play this Sunday in New Orleans," said the team.

The shock announcement came only two days after the star player turned himself in to face a child abuse charge. Peterson was indicted Friday by a Texas jury on charges that he used a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son.

The eyebrow-raising statement came as the NFL Network was reporting Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith were hired to help create more comprehensive policies surrounding domestic violence and sex crimes.

Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a league-wide memo obtained by Politico that this is only the first step towards addressing issues the league has.

"We are continuing to develop our organization to strengthen our ability to address the wide range of issues we face and other changes in our office will be announced soon," said the commissioner.

"We will work closely with your community relations, human resources and player engagement teams to implement programs in a way that is effective and beneficial for your own employees, their families and your communities," Goodell continued. "Needless to say, our entire office will be accountable for the success of these efforts and Anna and her team will have my full support."

Friel notably headed up the Manhattan District Atorney's sex crimes unit for nearly a decade, until she was forced to step down for discussing upcoming cases during a 2011 HBO documentary, according to TMZ.

Randel is the co-founder of dmoestic violence and sex assault advocacy group NO MORE and Smith was previously the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in the statement posted to the team's website that bringing back Peterson was done to "allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action.

"This is a difficult path to navigate, and our focus is on doing the right thing"

Goodell has not commented publicly on Peterson's reinstatement but does have the power to suspend Peterson indefinitely as he did former Ravens tailback Ray Rice.

The Vikings were blown out 30-7 this weekend by the New England Patriots while without Peterson, widely regarded as the best running back in the NFL.

An upcoming road match-up against the high-powered New Orleans Saints likely also factored into the decision.

Players, Fans React to Peterson's Absence
Players, Fans React to Peterson's Absence

Related links:
Minnesota Vikings fan seen at game wearing Adrian Peterson jersey while carrying a switch
Majority of Americans want NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson indicted on child abuse charges