Vikings owner Zygi Wilf says the team "made a mistake" by bringing back Adrian Peterson following his indictment on a felony child-abuse charge in Texas.
“We made a mistake and we needed to get this right,” he said on Wednesday. “We embrace our role in the community and the responsibilities that go with it. it is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors. Our goal is to always make the decision that is right for the Minnesota Vikings.”
The Vikings had benched Peterson for last Sunday’s loss to New England. But the next day, the team said they would bring him back to play and sponsors reacted swiftly. The Vikings had at least one major sponsorship suspended. Several NFL advertisers, including Anheuser-Busch, expressed concern about the league’s recent off-the-field problems. Minnesota’s governor said it was embarrassing.
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“We appreciate our fans, men and women alike, our sponsors, and the community,” Mark Wilf said. “We hear their input. We had to make sure the team was moving in the right direction… we made a mistake and we are doing the right thing.”
Early Wednesday, the team said Peterson would be barred from all activities. Co-owner Mark Wilf said the decision was "absolutely not" related to sponsor concerns.
Peterson was indicted after using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son earlier this year. He has said he didn’t intend to the child.
General manager Rick Spielman said that the team worked through the Peterson issue on Tuesday. He said the Vikings asked for the commissioner exemption after the NFLPA said that Peterson took a voluntary leave of absence with pay. Spielman said all the sides “came up with best resolution for everybody.”
Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs Kevin Warren reiterated that “it was the Vikings who started the process. This is what we want to do, and we came up with the best mechanism to accomplish that.”
Said Mark Wilf: “Our focus right now today is to get this right. We admitted making a mistake and we want to get this right. We want to support Adrian on his legal and personal matters, but we want to get this right.