Adrian Peterson Indicted for Negligent Injury to a Child

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2014

Ann Heisenfelt/ AP Images

Updates from Tuesday, Nov. 4

ESPN's Michele Steele reports the details of Adrian Peterson's plea deal:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Peterson plea deal involves fine, 80 hours community service - he is shaking hands w attorneys

NBC Sports' Mike Florio reports how Adrian Peterson is expected to plead today:

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Peterson will plead no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault.  The plea will not include reference to family violence or violence against a minor.

If the agreement is accepted by Judge Kelly Case, Peterson will pay a $2,000 fine, be placed on probation, and perform 80 hours of community service.  Technically, the adjudication of the case will be deferred for two years.

Florio later corrected the amount Peterson will pay as a fine:

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

One minor correction on Peterson deal: Fine is $4K not $2K. Which equates to what he makes in 20 seconds of game-clock time.

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson confirmed Florio's report:

Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson

Yahoo Sports has confirmed @ProFootballTalk report that Adrian Peterson has reached a misdemeanor plea agreement in his case.

Florio also provided an update on the league's timeline for ending Peterson's suspension:

“We will review the court documents,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email. “We cannot speculate on a timetable for a decision.”

Earlier, MyFox9.com's staff reported Peterson was expected to plead guilty:

Sources tell Fox 26 News in Houston that Adrian Peterson will plead guilty Tuesday to a Class A misdemeanor assault charge in his child abuse case. The plea deal is a move that could pave the way for his return to the Minnesota Vikings this season.

A source told Fox 26 that Peterson and his legal team were informed the plea deal is acceptable to the NFL and opens the door for his return to Vikings this season. The source said a leak of the deal likely came from the NFL offices, as Peterson and attorney Rusty Hardin have been in constant contact with the league to provide updates on the case.

What week Peterson could return is unknown. This plea deal is expected to include probation.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports general manager Rick Spielman's thoughts:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

#Vikings GM Rick Spielman has no comment on the status of Adrian Peterson. Not surprising. Lot of moving parts right now.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report passed along what he was hearing on how Peterson would be received in the Vikings' locker room:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

Text from Vikings player on how Peterson would be accepted in that locker room: "Some players still love him. Some are disgusted by him."

Updates from Monday, Nov. 3

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com weighed in on Adrian Peterson's potential for reinstatement if he agrees to a plea deal:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

If Adrian Peterson agrees to a plea deal Tuesday, do not expect him to be immediately reinstated & active. Maybe in time. Not immediately.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen also commented on the chances of seeing Adrian Peterson on the field this season, via Evan Silva of Rotoworld:

Evan Silva @evansilva

ESPN's Chris Mortensen just said on NFL Insiders that it's "very possible" Adrian Peterson could come back and play for #Vikings this year.

Updates from Sunday, Nov. 2

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Michele Steele report Adrian Peterson is attempting to reach a plea deal in the child-abuse case:

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and his representatives have been in talks to reach a plea agreement in his child-abuse case in Texas that could be done as early as Tuesday, sources close to the situation tell ESPN.

If Peterson were able to reach a plea agreement, then the immediate question would become when he would be allowed to return to work. For this there is no concrete answer, as the case is unprecedented. 


In addition to a potential plea deal, what will be at issue Tuesday is the bond revocation prosecutors have called for in light of Peterson's admission that he smoked marijuana before his initial court appearance in September.

Updates from Wednesday, Oct. 22

Michelle Steele of ESPN passed along the latest development in the legal situation surrounding Adrian Peterson:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Win for Adrian Peterson defense team: Judge Kelly Case is NOT recused -presumptive trial date Dec 1 still stands

Updates from Tuesday, Oct. 14

NFL.com's Albert Breer reports that Adrian Peterson has officially entered a plea:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

According to court documents, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has officially entered his plea of not guilty.

ESPN.com also reports on the status of the judge in Peterson's case:

A Montgomery County, Texas judge refused to recuse himself Monday in Adrian Peterson's felony child abuse case, rejecting the prosecutors' request to step aside because of what they termed bias and various recent legal disagreements

Updates from Thursday, Oct. 9

TMZ passed along the latest development in Peterson's legal issues:

Peterson had to submit to a court-ordered drug test as a condition of his bond in his child abuse case in Texas ... and according to the docs, he submitted to a urine test on Wednesday.

According to the docs, during the testing process, Peterson admitted to an employee of the company that conducted the testing that he recently "smoked a little weed."

Now, prosecutors say that is a direct violation of the terms of his bond -- and have asked the court to order him to be arrested.

Updates from Wednesday, Oct. 8

NFL.com's Albert Breer and ESPN's Michele Steele have updates on Peterson's preliminary hearing and the potential date for his trial: 

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

So again, judge says Adrian Peterson trial should be set for first week of December. No exact date yet.

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Rusty Hardin tells judge AP tired of being dumped on in the media - wants a chance to defend himself w speedy trial

Rochelle Olson of the Star Tribune has more:

Rochelle Olson @rochelleolson

AP trial appears to be set for Dec. 1 pending result of prosecution recusal request for the judge who called the lawyers media whores.

Breer gave information about Peterson's intentions regarding a plea:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

No official plea entered by Adrian Peterson today. But he intended to plea not guilty. Judge didn't ask for one.

Breer also provided quotes from Peterson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, and the running back himself:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Peterson lawyer Rusty Hardin told me the goal is "to try to get a trial as soon as we can." http://t.co/fiL8YAVVKl

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Adrian Peterson asked how he feels going in: "Relaxed". http://t.co/3rT7y86gef

Updates from Tuesday, Oct. 7

Pro Football Talk provides the day Peterson is reportedly targeting for his trial:

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

Adrian Peterson to push for December 1 trial date http://t.co/IVIEw933Pk

Albert Breer of NFL.com has updates on Peterson's pending trial:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

1) While Peterson plans to enter a "not guilty" plea, judge may not ask for a plea at all. That part's up to him. Telly Case is presiding.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

2) Generally, a case like this will take 9-12 months to go to trial. Naturally, Peterson's lawyers will ask for an accelerated timetable.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

3) Judge Case could set a schedule for the trial tomorrow, but that's no sure thing. Judge has a lot of discretion here.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

4) These arraignments are generally rather informal, but given media crush, this one might be different. Expect it to take 10-15 minutes.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

5) The DA's office plans to treat this like it would any other case. Grant: "From our perspective, it's not an unusual case."

Ben Goessling of ESPN.com passed along comments from Mary Flood, a spokesperson for Rusty Hardin, Adrian Peterson's attorney:

Ben Goessling @GoesslingStrib

Mary Flood, spokesperson for Rusty Hardin said if court asks for plea tomorrow from Peterson, "it will very definitely be not guilty."

Updates from Friday, Sept. 19

Brandon Stahl of the Star Tribune has the latest on Peterson's situation:

Hennepin County filed a court petition Friday seeking protection for Adrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son after his alleged abuse by the Vikings running back.

The petition asked a judge to approve a safety plan for the child, including that Peterson not have any unsupervised or unauthorized contact with the child, and that he cannot use any “corporal punishment and/or physical discipline.” ...

... “State law requires us to file an action in child protection court when charges are filed in criminal court alleging serious injuries against a child living in Hennepin County,” [Hennepin County Attorney Mike] Freeman said.

“Our own internal investigation has revealed that the injuries were serious enough to meet the legal threshold and, as a result, we have filed a Child in Need of Protection and Services petition (CHIPS) in Hennepin County District Court this afternoon. Due to state privacy laws, as well as the understandable desire of the mother to protect her child’s privacy, we will not comment further on this petition.”

Updates from Thursday, Sept. 18 

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Peterson may be able to speed up the legal process by agreeing to a plea deal:

‎Phil Grant, a Montgomery County, Texas assistant district attorney, said his office is willing to begin discussing a plea deal with Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges for allegedly striking a four-year old son repeatedly with a "switch." Grant said, "I wouldn't expect we'd go to trial" for at least six months, and he said such cases could take "up to 18 months" to reach trial.

At this point the Vikings are paying Peterson to stay on leave from the team, but that begs the question how long they would be willing to do that until making a decision to move on from him, with his contract very conducive to being terminated given its lack of future guaranteed money and low cap hit for cutting him.

Grant said it's conceivable the sides could begin plea talks even prior to Peterson's Oct. 8 arraignment date, "if they are interested in discussing a reasonable deal." 

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 17

Vikings reporter Sean Jensen supplies a statement from the Vikings concerning Peterson's situation:

Sean Jensen @seankjensen

The #Vikings statement in its entirety on placing Adrian Peterson on “Exempt/ Commissioner’s Permission list…” http://t.co/byFI31roMs

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer had more:

Jay Glazer @JayGlazer

Vikings have placed Adrian Peterson on Commissioner's exempt list, meaning he's shelved until further notice

Rochelle Olson and Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune report on if a plea deal could be made in the case: 

If Adrian Peterson won’t play for the Vikings until his legal case comes to a conclusion, he might not play again this season.

After the Vikings placed the star running back on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list early Wednesday, his lawyer hinted a trial for Peterson in Texas wouldn’t happen until 2015.

Rusty Hardin said no plea negotiations were occurring and that he has “no reason to believe” the case, in which Peterson is charged with a felony for injuring one of his children during discipline, won’t go to trial in about nine months as Montgomery County (Texas) prosecutors previously indicated.

Cindy Horswell of the Houston Chronicle provides comments from an interview with Peterson's mother:

Jackson said that both she and his father, Nelson Peterson, who lives in Dallas, were "big disciplinarians" with their children as they grew up, She said she used her hand, switches and belts to occasionally spank all of her six children in order to correct their behavior.

"I don't care what anybody says. Most of us disciplined our kids a little more than we meant sometimes," Jackson, 50, said in an interview from her home in Spring, a Houston suburb. "But we were only trying to prepare them for the real world.

When you whip those you love, it's not about abuse, but love," Jackson added, accompanied by her current husband, a Baptist minister. "You want to make them understand that they did wrong.

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 16

Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune provides a statement from the mother of Adrian Peterson's child's legal team:

Master @MasterTes

Mother of Adrian Peterson's 4-year-old released statement through attorney, asks media to take down photos #Vikings http://t.co/WJzjxom3W6

NFL Network's Jeff Darlington has the latest from Peterson's camp:

Jeff Darlington @JeffDarlington

Adrian Peterson’s foundation — the All Day Foundation — is on hiatus, according to the website. Here’s the statement: http://t.co/HjKSvTEhy8

Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune provides more from Peterson's foundation:

Matt Vensel @mattvensel

And now that is what you get when you visit the home page for Adrian Peterson's foundation. Takes aim at the media. http://t.co/6dIYs2jDac

Updates from Monday, Sept. 15

KHOU 11 in Houston reports that Peterson is being investigated in a separate case of abuse toward another one of his sons.

Jeremy Rogalski of KHOU 11 provides the details of the incident: 

The latest incident allegedly occurred last June, while the boy, who lives out of state, was visiting Peterson at his gated home in Spring. A photo, allegedly texted by Peterson to the boy's mother, shows a head wound to the boy covered by two bandages. Other photos, allegedly taken weeks later, reveal a scar over his right eye.

The text messages also describe an exchange about what happened. They contain numerous misspellings and shorthand:

Mother: "What happened to his head?"

Peterson: "Hit his head on the Carseat."

Mother: "How does that happen, he got a whoopin in the car."

Peterson: "Yep."

Mother: "Why?"

Peterson: "I felt so bad. But he did it his self."

The text messages go on to show Peterson saying he was disciplining his son for cussing to a sibling.

Seth Kaplan of Fox 9 went on to highlight the most important part of this new report: 

Seth Kaplan @Seth_Kaplan

The big takeaway is that this "new" case can be used as evidence in the current investigation. Could hurt his case, shows pattern.

Despite this, charges were never filed against Peterson. The report states, "Sources confirm the mother filed a report with Child Protective Services, but the outcome of any CPS investigation is unclear."

TMZ went on to explain why charges weren't filed: 

Sources close to the investigation tell TMZ the reason the case went nowhere is because Adrian did NOT strike the boy in the forehead -- but instead the child accidentally hit his head on a carseat while Adrian was punishing him.

We're also told the form of discipline was "not impermissible." Under Texas law parents are allowed to administer reasonable punishment.

Peterson's lawyer Rusty Hardin released a statement about the second incident via ESPN's Adam Schefter:

Brian Hall of Fox Sports North reported on Peterson's first court date for his original charge:

Brian Hall @MNBrianHall

Just heard that Peterson's first court setting will be Oct. 8.

Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune added:

Master @MasterTes

Peterson charged 1 count of injury to a child. Max 2 yrs in state jail and $10,000 fine. Probation an option if no criminal record #Vikings

Master @MasterTes

1st asst DA Phil Grant said reasonable discipline is a defense for Peterson when charged injury to a child in Texas. #Vikings

Peterson also issued a statement on the charges against him on Monday, which read in part (via Adam Schefter of ESPN):

I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen. I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.

I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward. But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives. I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man. I love my son and I will continue to become a better parent and learn from any mistakes I ever make.

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. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day.

I accept the fact that people feel very strongly about this issue and what they think about my conduct. Regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person.

Updates from Saturday, Sept. 13

Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on Peterson's court hearing on Saturday:

Master @MasterTes

Grant said the one Grand Jury reviewing Peterson's case was provided "lots of evidence over a significant number of weeks" #Vikings

Master @MasterTes

No court date set for Peterson. Grant assumes it'll happen within next couple weeks, will be several months before set for trial #Vikings

Tesfatsion also provided comments from District Attorney Phil Grant on the decision to charge Peterson:

Master @MasterTes

"The mental state that's reflected in the indictment is that [Peterson] did so with criminal negligence or recklessly"- Phil Grant #Vikings

Master @MasterTes

Grant on reasonable discipline defense #Vikings: "Obviously parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit expect...

Master @MasterTes

(cont)...when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable" Grant said Grand Jury found actions unreasonable #Vikings

Scout.com's Viking Update reports the sort of punishment Peterson could face on these charges: 

VikingUpdate.com @VikingUpdate

If convincted, Peterson case punishable by up to 2 years in jail or a fine. Probation possible for those without a criminal record. #Vikings

Brian Hall of FoxSportsNorth.com reported on potential league discipline:

Brian Hall @MNBrianHall

Peterson's case will be reviewed by the NFL under the personal conduct policy, the league announced.

ESPN's Ben Goessling reports on a potential statement from Peterson:

Ben Goessling @GoesslingStrib

Peterson's uncle said he will release a statement at some point through his attorney, Rusty Hardin. Wants to take his time right now.

KHOU in Houston provided Peterson's mugshot from being booked on Saturday morning:

KHOU 11 News Houston @KHOU

ICYMI: Adrian Peterson turned himself in at a Montgomery County jail early this morning http://t.co/FuYuAy0Lrv #NFL http://t.co/foXeRvSGUz

Peterson was booked and released, according to ESPN.com:

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson turned himself in to Montgomery County, Texas, authorities early Saturday morning.

He was booked into the Montgomery County jail at 1:06 a.m. CT and released at 1:35 a.m. CT after posting the $15,000 bond.

Original Text

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child. Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston was the first to report the news:

Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26

Sources: RB Adrian Peterson indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child N Montgomery County.His atty Rustin Hardin declined comment

Phil Perry of CSN New England provides a statement from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office:

Phil Perry @PhilAPerry

Statement from Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Adrian Peterson: http://t.co/XknW9Xf6XO

According to Around the NFL, Peterson will not play this Sunday:

Around The NFL @AroundTheNFL

Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson Sunday.

SportsCenter indicates a warrant has been issued for Peterson's arrest:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

DEVELOPING: A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Adrian Peterson. At this time, Peterson is not in custody.

Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press provides a statement from Adrian Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin:

Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He has cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours. Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

CBS Minnesota reveals details from the police report:

Sports Radio 610 in Houston obtained a draft of the police report which says Peterson admitted that he did, in his words, “whoop” one of his children last May while the boy was visiting him in Houston.

When the 4-year-old boy returned to Minnesota, his mother took him to a doctor. The police report said the boy told the doctor Peterson had hit him with a branch from a tree.still

The doctor told investigators that the boy had a number of lacerations on his thighs, along with bruise-like marks on his lower back and buttocks and cuts on his hand.

The police report says the doctor described some of the marks as open wounds and termed it “child abuse.” Another examiner agreed, calling the cuts “extensive.

CBS Houston also published reported texts from Peterson and more details from the police report:

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

Peterson also allegedly said via text message to the child’s mother that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” and also acknowledged the injury to the child’s scrotum in a text message, saying, “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”

In further text messages, Peterson allegedly said, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right."


When Peterson was asked how he felt about the incident, he said, “To be honest with you, I feel very confident with my actions because I know my intent.” He also described the incident as a “normal whooping” in regards to the “welps” on the child’s buttocks, but that he felt bad immediately when he saw the injuries on the child’s legs. Peterson estimated he “swatted” his son “10 to 15” times, but he’s not sure because he doesn’t “ever count how many pops I give my kids.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today has more on Peterson:

Peterson eventually will have to return to Texas to post bond, the person said, but there is no timeline for that to happen yet.

After missing practice Thursday, Peterson returned to the field Friday and was in the locker room a couple hours before Fox 26 in Houston broke news of the indictment.

Adam Caplan of ESPN provides the Vikings' statement on Peterson:

Adam Caplan @caplannfl

#Vikings statement: "The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson...

Adam Caplan @caplannfl

... At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin."

We will have more updates as they become available.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.