NFL Reinstates Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

Reuters Contributor
Font Size:

(Reuters) – Adrian Peterson is free to resume his playing career, the National Football League said on Thursday, but whether the former Most Valuable Player who was suspended for beating his son returns to his former team is unknown.

The Minnesota Vikings running back was advised by the NFL that he would be reinstated as an active player on Friday and that he may participate in all scheduled team activities, the league said in a statement.

In a letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Peterson was informed that he is expected to fulfill obligations to authorities in Minnesota and Texas, as well as commitments he made during an April 7 meeting with the commissioner.

During his meeting with Goodell, Peterson said he would maintain an ongoing program of counseling and treatment as recommended by medical advisors.

The league also said any further violation of the personal conduct policy by the running back would result in additional discipline, which could include suspension without pay or banishment from the NFL.

“We look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings,” the NFL team said in a statement.

But Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, said during the NFL’s spring meetings last month that his client would like to leave the Vikings for a new team.

Peterson, the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player, was suspended on Nov. 18 after he pleaded no contest in Texas to a misdemeanor assault charge and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and perform community service.

Following his September indictment, Peterson, 30, sat out one game before being reinstated by the Vikings. When team sponsors expressed their anger, Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which took him off the field but allowed him to keep his $11.75 million salary.

After Peterson’s no contest plea, the NFL took Peterson off the exempt list and suspended him, saying he would not be considered for reinstatement before April 15.

Peterson was arrested last September on a felony child abuse charge for disciplining his 4-year-old son by repeatedly striking him with a thin tree branch called a switch.

Several sponsors abandoned the Vikings after Peterson was indicted and endorsement deals the six-time Pro Bowl running back had with apparel maker Nike and others was abruptly dropped after his plea deal was announced.

Blessed with a rare combination of speed and power, Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards over his eight-year NFL and has scored 91 touchdowns.

He admitted striking his son with the switch but insisted that he loves his son and was only administering the form of punishment he himself received as a child growing up in Texas.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles and Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Frank Pingue)