Peterson cleared to play Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that running back Adrian Peterson will return to practice this week and play in Sunday's game at New Orleans despite having been indicted last week in Texas on a charge of harm to a child. Sho...

Adrian Peterson
Photo by Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is tackled by St. Louis Rams strong safety T.J. McDonald Jr. during the first half of the Sept. 7 game at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that running back Adrian Peterson will return to practice this week and play in Sunday’s game at New Orleans despite having been indicted last week in Texas on a charge of harm to a child. Shortly thereafter, Peterson released a statement in which he said, “I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser.”
Peterson was deactivated Friday and did not attend the Vikings’ 30-7 loss to New England on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium after being indicted for the incident involving his 4-year-old son.
The team released a statement co-owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.
“(Monday’s) decision was made after significant thought, discussion and consideration,” the statement read in part. “As evidenced by our decision to deactivate Adrian from yesterday’s game, this is clearly a very important issue. On Friday (when Peterson was indicted), 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.”
Later Monday, Peterson released a lengthy statement. He said he could not talk about some aspects of the case. But he said he has never wanted to be a distraction and emphasized that he was disciplining his child and meant no harm.
“I never wanted to be a distraction to the Vikings organization, the Minnesota community or to my teammates,” Peterson said in the statement. “I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son. … I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser.”
The Wilfs also said in their statement that this is a matter for the courts.
“To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child,” the statement read. “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.”
Vikings players showed support for Peterson on Monday.
“To have him back around his teammates, we’re something like his family,” wide receiver Jarius Wright said. “Just to have to him back ... (it’s) good to see him. When I saw him today, I just told him I was happy to have him back and I hope everything is going good with him.”
Wright was asked about what Peterson has been accused of.
“Me personally, (I think) he didn’t do anything wrong,” Wright said. “So as long as we had him deactivated I don’t think it was too short.”
Quarterback Christian Ponder also addressed the situation.
“It was unexpected, that’s for sure,” Ponder said of Peterson being reinstated. “Obviously the league’s dealing with a lot of different issues right now. It stinks having a teammate going through this. We’ll see what happens … We love Adrian and we’re here to support him with everything that’s going on. I’m not going to comment on whether I agree or disagree with what happened. That’s his decision as a father. He may or may not pay the penalties as he’s going through what he’s going through down in Texas.”
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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