Vikings miss Peterson in loss to Patriots

Ann Heisenfelt/ap file photoVikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse chargers Friday and turned himself in to Texas police and posted bail Saturday.

Ann Heisenfelt/ap file photoVikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse chargers Friday and turned himself in to Texas police and posted bail Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — The face of the franchise was nowhere to be found as the Minnesota Vikings flailed away against the New England Patriots on Sunday, and it's not clear when, if ever, Adrian Peterson will rejoin them.

The star running back was inactive for the team's home opener after being charged with child abuse for striking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, a stunning development for one of the league's most popular and well-respected players.

For eight years Peterson has been the focal point of the Vikings' offense, but Sunday, he stayed away from the stadium to avoid becoming more of a distraction.

Coach Mike Zimmer repeatedly declined to talk about Peterson after a mistake-filled 30-7 loss only to later describe an offensive malaise that he had previously not seen from his team.

“I told them after the game that's the first I've ever seen it,” Zimmer said. “We've had bad practices and stuff, but I haven't seen it in three weeks maybe, guys just kind of milling around, getting lined up. I don't know, but I'm going to address it.”

It's hard to imagine that it isn't rooted at least in some part to Peterson's situation. Matt Cassel threw a career-high four interceptions, the Vikings rushed for just 54 yards against a defense that gave up 191 last week and dynamic receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was held to just to just four catches for 56 yards.

“I think we were off a lot. I think it was just because 28 wasn't there,” Patterson said, referring to Peterson. “We've got to learn how to not focus on 28 and just worry about this team with or without Adrian. So next week we've just got to come in and game plan without him. But if he's here, we really need him.”

The Vikings (1-1) also had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown, went 4-for-11 on third down and allowed Stevan Ridley to rush for 101 yards and a score for the Patriots (1-1).

“It didn't affect the team,” Zimmer insisted about Peterson's absence. “You know what affected the team? Throwing interceptions, getting a field goal blocked, not tackling well enough, having penalties on defense.”

The former NFL MVP was indicted Friday, booked and released from a Houston jail Saturday.

In the wake of harsh criticism levied at the NFL when former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice initially received just a two-game suspension for knocking out his then-fiancee, the Vikings decided to deactivate Peterson.

Zimmer declined to discuss specifics and GM Rick Spielman was unavailable for comment. There was no timetable set for a decision on his status for next week's game at New Orleans.

In 2011, the Vikings suspended cornerback Chris Cook with pay after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and barred him from all team activities while his trial played out.

Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers.

The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new tougher domestic abuse policy that was implemented after Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment.

Peterson's attorney said his client was only disciplining his son, didn't intend to harm the boy and was cooperating with the investigation.

Even after the troubling allegations, there were still plenty of No. 28 jerseys on the backs of Vikings fans at the stadium.

“I don't think he was trying to abuse his child,” said Nick Novak, a 29-year-old season-ticket holder from nearby Roseville. “I think he was trying to punish the child for wrongdoing. . He did cross a line though.”

NOTES: Cassel completed 19 of 36 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. … Zimmer said he never considered going to backup Teddy Bridgewater and also said Cassel would start next week against New Orleans. … Matt Asiata started in Peterson's place and rushed for 36 yards on 13 carries and caught a 25-yard TD pass. … Chandler Jones had two sacks for the Patriots and returned the blocked field goal 58 yards for a TD just before halftime.

Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsNew England PatriotsNFLOakland Raiders & NFL

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which features a comprehensive water-recycling system, on July 30, 2021. Water recycling in office buildings is seen as a promising sustainability effort, as well as a smart hedge against rising costs and future shortages. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Salesforce Tower is part of a nationwide water recycling trend: Here’s how it works

By Patrick Sisson New York Times When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco… Continue reading

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

An East Palo Alto resident is inoculated during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic run by Ravenswood Family Health Network at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park on April 10, 2021. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
COVID vaccinations lag for people on Medi-Cal

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Low-income Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal have been… Continue reading

Blue California often is the target of criticism by conservative media, but now is receiving critical attention from liberal writers. Pictured: The State Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Why is California now being criticized from the left?

California being what it is – a very large state with a… Continue reading

Most Read