Rather than an outright suspension, the Minnesota Vikings will place running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt/commissioner's permission list, barring the embattled NFL player from participation in all team activities. The little-used measure will allow the franchise to remove Peterson from their 53-man roster until the resolution of his ongoing child abuse case.
"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," Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said Wednesday in a statement. The statement continued: "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."
Though enacted rarely, the Exempt/Commissioner's permission list is most often used by teams to allow a player to address a lingering "off the field" issue. The player in question is removed from the team's active roster. Whether or not to pay the player while he remains on the list is left up to the team. The Vikings will pay Peterson while he is on the list, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports.
In 2009, quarterback Michael Vick, then a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, was placed on the exempt list after serving a jail sentence and suspension for his participation in an illegal dogfighting ring. Similarly, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Tanard Jackson was placed on the exempt list in 2011 after returning from a yearlong ban for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Former New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma spent time on the list in 2012 after a suspension for his involvement in that organization's "BountyGate" scandal, though his stay was health-related. However, both Vick and Jackson were allowed to practice while on the exempt list, which indicates that the Vikings made the decision to ban Peterson from practice.
The exempt/commissioner's permission list isn't necessarily reserved for troubled players. The Buccaneers placed running back Jeff Demps on the list in 2013 during his pursuit of an Olympic track career, Deadspin notes.
Peterson surrendered to authorities last Saturday and was booked on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The 29-year-old stands accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a switch.
Though Peterson was deactivated from the Vikings' Week 2 game against the New England Patriots, the Wilfs announced Tuesday that he would be reinstated immediately, citing a desire to respect "due process." The decision drew immediate public backlash. The Radisson hotel chain suspended its limited sponsorship of the Vikings, while Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called on the franchise to suspend Peterson.