Adrian Peterson put on exempt list

ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been placed on the NFL's exempt list, barring him from all team activities until his child-abuse case is resolved, the team said 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 team addressed its decision at a noon ET news conference Wednesday.

"We made a mistake and we need to get this right," Zygi Wilf said. "It is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors."

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 Minnesota Vikings are the ones who initiated this process," vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer Kevin Warren said at the news conference. "This was a decision made by the Vikings, the ownership. We went to the league and told them this is what we wanted to do."

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."

Peterson also tweeted shortly after the announcement:

- Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) September 17, 2014The running back has said he was disciplining his son the same way his own father disciplined him while growing up in Texas and that he didn't intend to hurt him.

Peterson also was accused in 2013 in Texas of injuring another of his young sons, who has a different mother, although charges were never brought. Those allegations reportedly were filed to the state's Child Protective Services agency, according to Houston CBS affiliate KHOU.

Peterson had been deactivated for the Vikings' Week 2 game against the New England Patriots after the indictment was made public.

Minnesota then reinstated Peterson on Monday, citing concern for due process and the legal proceedings. The Vikings said they had further deliberations with the NFL on Monday and Tuesday, and informed the league they were revisiting the situation. Executives were at the team's Winter Park headquarters late into the night Tuesday, discussing how to respond to the avalanche of criticism of their Monday announcement.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton -- who spearheaded the legislative fight for the Vikings' new $1 billion stadium and stood next to Zygi Wilf at the groundbreaking in November -- said the team's move to reinstate Peterson was a mistake and called it "an awful situation." In addition, the Radisson hotels chain announced Monday it was suspending its sponsorship of the team.

"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," the Vikings' statement said. "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 this organization and this community.

"Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well. We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision."

Peterson is the Vikings' all-time leading rusher, having reached the 10,000-yard plateau faster than all but two running backs in NFL history. His 2,097-yard season in 2012 is the second-best in league history, and he made six Pro Bowls in his first seven seasons with the team.

The Vikings used running back Matt Asiata in Peterson's absence on Sunday. He caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel on the Vikings' opening drive but had just 36 yards on 13 carries after that, as the Vikings were forced to abandon their running game in a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

Rookie running back Jerick McKinnon is also likely to see his role increase.

ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder, Ben Goessling of and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Video