Vikings’ Adrian Peterson plans to plead not guilty to child abuse charge

Adrian Peterson
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault stemming from an incident in which he punished his 4-year-old son by whipping him with a tree switch.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

A spokeswoman for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s attorney says the NFL player plans to plead not guilty to a child abuse charge during his first court appearance in Texas since his indictment last month.

Peterson was scheduled to be in court Wednesday in Conroe, located north of Houston.

Mary Flood, a spokeswoman for Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Tuesday that if asked at the hearing, Peterson will plead not guilty to a charge of injury to a child.

Peterson says he never intended to harm his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a tree branch earlier this year. Prosecutor Phil Grant declined to comment Tuesday on whether the case could be settled without a trial. If convicted, Peterson could face up to two years in prison.


Meanwhile, Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson practiced with the team as usual Tuesday, following his weekend arrest on misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct charges that his representatives said should be dismissed.

Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings were “still collecting facts” about the incident early Sunday, which police said involved the use of chemical spray and a stun gun on the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Johnson.

According to the police report, Johnson was arrested around closing time when he refused orders by security and police to leave Seven, a downtown Minneapolis steakhouse and sushi lounge. Johnson was booked at the Hennepin County jail and released on a $78 bond.

Johnson was repeatedly told to leave the building, police said, and the chemical spray was used to force him outside after he resisted. Once outside, according to the report, he remained uncooperative and police used the stun gun on him.


Laser focus

The NFL is attempting to shed light on who allegedly shined a laser pointer at Buffalo Bills players at Detroit’s Ford Field last weekend.

League spokesman Michael Signora said Tuesday the NFL is investigating the Bills’ complaint and attempting to identify the person responsible. Quarterback Kyle Orton and holder Colton Schmidt said they had a laser directed at them during Buffalo’s 17-14 win over the Lions on Sunday.

The league will share the results of its investigation with police, Signora said.

All four major pro sports leagues bar the use of laser pointers at their facilities. Fans caught using them can be ejected, are subject to arrest and face the possibility of being banned from entering the facility for any future event.

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