Vikings: Adrian Peterson to return
The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that running back Adrian Peterson will return to practices and meetings this week and is expected to play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Peterson was deactivated for the Vikings' Week 2 game against the New England Patriots after he was indicted by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
"Today's decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration. As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday's game, this is clearly a very important issue," Vikings owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf said in a statement.
"On Friday, we felt it was in the best interests of the organization to step back, evaluate the situation, and not rush to judgment given the seriousness of this matter. At that time, we made the decision that we felt was best for the Vikings and all parties involved. To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child.
"At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should 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. Currently we believe we are at a juncture where the most appropriate next step is to allow the judicial process to move forward. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian's fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process."
At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Montgomery County, Texas, first assistant district attorney Phil Grant said Peterson was charged with one count of injury to a child and could be sentenced to as many as two years in state jail as well as a $10,000 fine. Probation is an option, Grant said, for defendants with no prior criminal record.
Peterson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement Friday saying his client's conduct "involves using a switch to spank his son." According to a report by Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Peterson removed the leaves of a tree branch, which he referred to in a police report as "a switch," to strike his 4-year-old son.
In Texas, Grant said, "parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable." In Peterson's case, Grant said, the grand jury found Peterson's discipline exceeded a reasonable standard.
Peterson will likely make a court appearance in the next several weeks, Grant said, but it could be several months before the case would go to trial.
On Saturday, the NFL told ESPN.com it would review Peterson's case under the league's personal conduct policy.
Peterson didn't accompany the Vikings to Sunday's game. He did, however, tweet a copy of religious text on the topic of judging others.