Vikings bar Peterson from team activities



Minnesota Vikings Deactivate Adrian Peterson

BY JON KRAWCZYNSKI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Hours after reversing course and benching Adrian Peterson indefinitely, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Wednesday that the team "made a mistake" in bringing back their superstar running back following his indictment on a felony child-abuse charge in Texas.

"We made a mistake and we need to get this right," he said at a crowded news conference. "It is important to always listen to our fans and the community and our sponsors. Our goal is always to make the decision we feel is right for the Minnesota Vikings ... We want to be sure we get this right."

Wilf and his co-owner brother, Mark Wilf, announced their decision around 2 a.m. Eastern after concluding it was best for the Vikings and for Peterson, their All-Pro workhorse who has played his entire NFL career with Minnesota and is accused of injuring his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a wooden switch earlier this year.

The organization put Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list, meaning he is off the active roster while he deals with his legal affairs. General manager Rick Spielman would not put a timeframe on when Peterson might be back.

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Vikings bar Peterson from team activities
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 30: A fan holds up a sign in support of Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers on November 30, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Panthers 31-13. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - NOVEMBER 04: Football running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings arrives for a court hearing on charges of child abuse with his wife Ashley Brown at the Montgomery County Courthouse on November 4, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson entered a no contest plea and will avoid jail time. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - NOVEMBER 04: NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings addresses the media after pleading 'no contest' to a lesser misdemeanor charge of reckless assault November 4, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson's plea to the Class A misdemeanor comes with two years of deferred adjudication. Peterson also received a $4,000 fine and 80 hours of required community service. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - NOVEMBER 04: Defense attorney Rusty Hardin, (L) and NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the of the Minnesota Vikings address the media after Peterson plead 'no contest' to a lesser misdemeanor charge of reckless assault on November 4, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson's plea to the Class A misdemeanor comes with two years of deferred adjudication. Peterson also received a $4,000 fine and 80 hours of required community service. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - OCTOBER 08: NFL player Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings walks with his wife Ashley Brown to a court appearance at the Montgomery County municipal building on October 8, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson did not enter a plea, and after about an hour in the courtroom the hearing was reset. A tentative trial date was set for Dec. 1. Petersen is facing charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - OCTOBER 08: A fan wears a wildcat suit in support of NFL player Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings as Petersen prepares to arrive at a court appearance at the Lee G. Alworth Building and the Montgomery County 9th District Court in Conroe, Texas on October 8, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson did not enter a plea, and after about an hour in the courtroom the hearing was reset. A tentative trial date was set for Dec. 1. Petersen is facing charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - OCTOBER 08: NFL player Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings enters the courtroom with his wife Ashley Brown and his attorney Rusty Hardin (R) at the Lee G. Alworth Building and the Montgomery County 9th District Court on October 8, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Petersen is facing charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)
CONROE, TX - OCTOBER 08: NFL player Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings chats with his attorney Rusty Hardin (R) during a court appearance at the Lee G. Alworth Building and the Montgomery County 9th District Court on October 8, 2014 in Conroe, Texas. Peterson did not enter a plea, and after about an hour in the courtroom the hearing was reset. A tentative trial date was set for Dec. 1. Petersen is facing charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. (Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 28: Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on August 28, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 7: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes during a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September 7, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
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"Until these legal matters are resolved, that he will remain on this exemption list," he said.

A day-and-a-half earlier, the Vikings said Peterson would rejoin the team after missing Sunday's loss to New England. The backlash to that announcement was significant. The Vikings had at least one major sponsorship suspended. Several prominent NFL advertisers, including Anheuser-Busch, expressed concern about the league's recent off-the-field problems, which include former Ravens running back Ray Rice and the indictment of Peterson. The governor was critical. Fans were angry.

Castrol Motor Oil, Special Olympics Minnesota and Mylan Inc. all severed ties with Peterson. Twin Cities area Nike stores pulled Peterson's jerseys from its shelves and the team canceled an appearance at a children's home.

Mark Wilf dismissed the suggestion that Peterson was barred strictly because of sponsor concerns.

"Absolutely not," he said. "We value our partners, our sponsors, our community and especially our fans. In the end, it really is about getting it right. We made a mistake."

Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said the decision was "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," Dogra told The Associated Press. "We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence."

The NFL Players Association said it had worked with Peterson and the team to resolve "this unique situation.

"Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues," the union said. "We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family."

Peterson has an Oct. 8 court appearance scheduled in Montgomery County, outside of Houston, on a felony charge of injury to a child. Peterson has taken responsibility for the incident, insisting he meant no harm and alluding to similar punishment he endured from his parents while growing up in Palestine, Texas.

Peterson hasn't appeared publicly since the grand jury indictment, but in a statement this week he said he's met with a psychologist and acknowledged there are "alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."

The case is expected to take several months to proceed through the court system, so the possibility of Peterson playing again in 2014 appears slim. His future with the Vikings is another matter. He turns 30 next year and will continue to carry a huge salary cap hit in 2015.

The Vikings held Peterson out of the 30-7 loss to New England on Sunday to let the situation simmer. Then on Monday they announced Peterson would rejoin the team and play this weekend at New Orleans. But the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship with the Vikings and Papa John's pizza considered doing the same.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who spearheaded an effort to secure $477 million in public money to help build the team a new stadium, and Sen. Al Franken were among the many who called for the Vikings to reconsider their position.

The Vikings said they had deliberations with the NFL over the previous two days. They said they informed the league they were revisiting the original decision. Executives were at the team's Winter Park headquarters late into the night Tuesday, discussing how to respond to the avalanche of criticism. It explained the early-morning announcement.

"There were a lot of people discussing this, working through it, a lot of different parties in this," Mark Wilf said. "We felt once we get it right, to get it out when we got it right."

Peterson has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2007, one of the most popular and marketable stars in the NFL whose All Day Foundation charity is devoted to helping children.

But the foundation's website was shuttered Tuesday, at one point posting a message that it "will re-engage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian's philanthropy."


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