Late last night, Vikings ownership released a statement indicating that the team has changed course on its decision to activate running back Adrian Peterson for this weekend’s game against the Saints. Peterson, who is facing a charge of injuring a child, will be placed on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list until the legal process plays out, according to club owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf. Here’s their statement in full:
“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.”
With Peterson set to sit out until the legal process concludes, the longtime Viking figures to have more incentive to reach some sort of resolution in his case sooner rather than later, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, pointing out that Peterson’s status will give leverage to prosecutors. As Ben Goessling of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter), currently, Peterson isn’t due in court for the first time until October 8, and there’s a possibility a trial wouldn’t happen until 2015, meaning the Pro Bowler could miss the entire season.
Although Peterson’s season appears to be in jeopardy, this is a decision he’s on board with, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com, who tweets that the NFLPA consulted with the running back about the move and Peterson decided to accept it rather than challenge it. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the Vikings will still be paying Peterson during his time on the exempt list — he won’t earn an accrued season if he isn’t on the 53-man roster for six games, but that’s not as crucial at this stage of Peterson’s career as it would be for a younger player.
Now that the Vikings have made this drastic a move with Peterson, it could provide a road map for the Panthers as they decide how to handle their own situation with Greg Hardy. A Panthers source tells Werder (Twitter link) that Carolina now has “more to consider” as the club weighs what to do with Hardy.