Less than two days after activating Peterson for Sunday's game in New Orleans, the Vikings reversed course by releasing a statement early Wednesday explaining that Peterson will be placed on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission List. That will require Peterson to remain away from all team activities while he takes care of his legal proceedings.
According to the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual: The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit.
Peterson was deactivated for last week's loss to the New England Patriots after being indicted on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The decision to activate Peterson for this week came under heavy criticism, including a call from the governor of Minnesota to suspend Peterson.
The statement indicates that Peterson will remain deactivated until his legal proceedings are resolved. Peterson has an initial hearing for his charges on October 8. The Montgomery County District Attorney indicated previously a trial wasn't likely until 2015.
There is not a lot of precedent for using this list, but NFL Media's Jeff Darlington notes that the Philadelphia Eagles placed Michael Vick on the list in 2009 upon signing him as they waited for him to be reinstated by the league.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, citing a source involved in the situation, reported Wednesday that the Vikings will pay Peterson's salary during his stay on the exempt list. According to the CBA, the team has the option of paying or not paying the player's salary.
"This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances," Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, told The Associated Press. "Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence."
Peterson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, also weighed in.
"Adrian wants to continue his work in the NFL and contribute to his team and community," Hardin said in a statement Wednesday. "In order to do so, he is prepared to resolve this matter in the appropriate legal forum rather than the court of public opinion."
Rapoport obtained the following statement from the NFL on Wednesday morning: "This is a good decision that will allow Adrian Peterson to resolve his personal situation and the Vikings to return the focus to the football field."
The NFL Players Union also said it supports the decision in a statement.
"Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues. The NFLPA and NFL worked with Adrian and the Minnesota Vikings to resolve this unique situation."
Here's the full team statement from Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, issued shortly after midnight in Minnesota:
"This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday's news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team's decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.
"We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role - and the responsibilities that go with it - as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
"While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
"We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision."