The Minnesota Vikings have placed Adrian Peterson on the “exempt” list in response to criticism of the team for activating the running back on Monday.
A Montgomery County, Texas, grand jury indicted the 2012 NFL MVP on Friday on a child-abuse charge after an earlier grand jury refused to indict. The team responded to the indictment by deactivating Peterson for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, which the Vikings lost 30-7. After posting just 54 yards rushing against the Pats, Minnesota activated their all-time rushing leader on Monday for this week’s practices and Sunday’s game against New Orleans. But with the governor of Minnesota calling for a suspension, Radisson hotels removing their logo from team press conferences, and outcry from the media, the team reversed course.
Vacillating Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf released a statement on Wednesday morning addressing the reversal of their Monday decision:
This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.
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.
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 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 faces an October 8 court date, which isn’t likely to conclude the matter. The desire to play may pressure the running back to attempt to resolve the situation earlier, a scenario the prosecutor may be counting on.
Sitting out a season, or even part of one, jeopardizes Peterson’s quest to break the NFL’s all-time rushing mark held by Emmitt Smith. In his eighth season, Peterson already has accumulated 10,190 yards on the ground. Peterson would need more than 8,166 more yards on the ground to surpass the Hall of Famer. Piling up such numbers, already a sketchy proposition given that Peterson turns 30 after this season, appears unlikely should the Viking sit out the season or even a significant portion of it.