Minnesota Vikings running back and 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson's future remains murky in light of child abuse charges filed against him.
Adrian Peterson's NFL future is hanging in the balance because of the child abuse charges he's facing.
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Peterson -- who was inactive for the Vikings' 30-7 loss to the visiting New England Patriots on Sept. 14 -- was charged
"with one count of injury to a child" after he spanked his son with a switch last week, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Mike Kaszuba and Rochelle Olson:
"The explosive legal case against Vikings star Adrian Peterson was laid out Saturday in Texas, making it clear that the running back will have to convince a jury that whipping his son was 'reasonable discipline.'
"The outline of the case -- coming as the National Football League, the Vikings and Minnesota still were reeling from the news -- left it unclear when or whether Peterson would play again, and it ignited an intense national debate among fans and parents about the appropriateness and limits of coropral punishment.
"Phil Grant, a Montgomery County (Texas) assistant district attorney, said that a single grand jury had considered the case and decided that Peterson's treatment of his son was 'not reasonable.'
"'Obviously, parents are entitled to discipline their children as they see fit, except for when that discipline exceeds what the community would say is reasonable,' Grant said. '(But) the mental state that's reflected in the indictment is that he did so with criminal negligence, or recklessly.'
"Grant, speaking at a short news conference, said Peterson might not face trial until next year. If convicted, the Vikings star could face up to two years in a Texas jail and a $10,000 fine. The single-page indictment, handed out at Grant's briefing, charged Peterson with one count of injury to a child.
"Peterson's first court date has not been set.
"For its part, the NFL had little to say about the case.
"NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was reviewing Peterson's case to check for violations of its personal conduct policy. The policy would seem to give the NFL wide latitude to act -- it says that criminal activity 'is clearly outside the scope of permissible conduct,' and that discipline also can be imposed for 'conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well-being' of another individual.
"The Peterson cames comes at the end of a week in which the NFL, and embattled commissioner Roger Goodell, were the targets of blistering criticism for their initial handling of the domestic-abuse case involving Baltimore (Ravens) star Ray Rice.
"The league gave no indication how soon it could act on Peterson's case.
"The Vikings star was back in Minnesota on Saturday after taking a late-night round-trip charter to Houston, where he was booked and then released on $15,000 bond."
On Sept. 14, Minnesota Vikings executive vice president and general manager Rick Spielman told ESPN Sal Paolantonio "all options are on the table" regarding how the team will handle their star running back's legal matters:
"'Friday night was the first we heard of the formal allgations against Adrian Peterson, and we decided, as an organization, as an organization, that to deactivate him this weekend was in the best interest of everybody concerned,' Spielman told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. 'We are, as an organization, still in the process of gathering information, and at the end of the weekend we will discuss what we will do going forward.
"'You don't have to make any knee-jerk reactions. All options are on the table. You can't take any options off the table because we're still gathering information.'
"An announcement or decision on Peterson's future could come as early as Monday, according to a league source.
"Coach Mike Zimmer said he addressed the situation with the team before Sunday's game.
"After the game he talked about the team playing without its top playmaker.
"'We've got to go on and go about it. It's just part of life,' Zimmer said. 'Would we have liked to have him? Sure. But I think any time you lose your best player, it's a team game. Everybody has to step up. I'm sure that when (Packers quarterback Aaron) Rodgers went down last year that Green Bay had to suck it up and go, so we've got to suck it up, too. We didn't today.'
"...At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Montgomery County 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.
"On Saturday, the NFL told ESPN.com it would review Peterson's case under the league's personal conduct policy."
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