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Vikings star Adrian Peterson indicted on felony charge of injury to a child

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Posted at 8:11 PM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-12 21:05:10-04

(CNN) – Star NFL running back Adrian Peterson faces a felony charge of injury to a child, authorities said Friday. His lawyer said his client was doling out discipline to his son much like “he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas.”

Following his indictment Thursday by a grand jury, the Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s office entered a warrant for Peterson’s arrest, according to sheriff’s Lt. Brady Fitzgerald.

The sheriff’s office didn’t offer details on how the child was allegedly injured. Peterson’s attorney, however, said that the “charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son.”

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The attorney, Rusty Hardin, said “Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.”

Rather, Hardin characterized the former NFL MVP as “a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son.”

Peterson will travel to Houston and will then “post bond as soon as it can be arranged,” according to Hardin.

“(Peterson) will continue to insist on his innocence of any intended wrongdoing,” the lawyer said.

Hardin claims that his client has “cooperated fully with authorities and voluntarily testified before the grand jury for several hours.”

“Adrian will address the charges with the same respect and responsiveness he has brought to this inquiry from its beginning,” the lawyer said.

Right after news broke of the indictment, the Vikings released a statement saying they were “in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation.”

The team came back a short time later to announce that its offensive catalyst has been deactivated for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots.

The alleged criminal offense took place in Montgomery County, which is north of Houston.

Peterson himself grew up in Palestine, Texas, which is 150 miles north of Houston and 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

A running back for the Vikings since 2007, he rushed for 75 yards in his team’s season-opening 34-6 rout of the St. Louis Rams.

In 2012, he was named the league’s most valuable player when he ran for 2,097 yards, just nine yards short of the single-season mark, the NFL said.

Peterson, 29, lost a 2-year-old son last year who was living with his mother in South Dakota, and her boyfriend, Joseph Robert Patterson, was charged with murder. Patterson has denied the charge and said the boy choked on strawberry fruit snacks, the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reported.

He also was indicted for an alleged attack on the boy’s mother and pleaded not guilty to those charges in July, the Argus Leader reported.

News of Peterson’s indictment casts another shadow over the NFL, which is reeling from the fallout over then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Ric allegedly punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in a casino elevator.

A New Jersey grand jury indicted Rice for third-degree aggravated assault; he pleaded not guilty and entered a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders that could clear him if he successfully completes the requirements.