Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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In what comes as little surprise, the Vikings have waived their second fullback, Zach Line, in order to add running back Joe Banyard to the roster.

Zach Line is eligible for the practice squad with the old rules, and the Vikings have one exemption spot available to them anyway because only one spot is being used for the “new rules” practice squad that allows players with two vested seasons to be added to the practice squad.

Again, this should not change much about the Vikings’ gameday plans. Zach Line is subject to waivers and teams may be able to claim him.

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In the wake of the Adrian Peterson fallout, the Minnesota Vikings have decided to call up running back Joe Banyard from the practice squad in order to deal with Adrian Peterson’s deactivation against the Patriots, per the Pioneer Press. The presence of a third running back is evidently very important for them. No word on who will be cut (Peterson still counts against the roster) in order to make room.

This should not have a significant impact on the game.

Scouting report from before the season on Joe Banyard below:

Joe Banyard (Class of 2012)

Banyard has had some staying power with Minnesota, having twice earned a practice squad spot and even earning a promotion from the practice squad to cover for running back injuries. There isn’t a lot of information about Banyard out there (aside from the fact that he is a proficient rattlesnake catcher) but he has participated in camp before and so is a known quantity to the Vikings if not the fans.

Strengths: Banyard may not be nearly the athletic talent that McKinnon or Peterson are, but he certainly has much more speed and strength (for his size) than either Dominique Williams or Matt Asiata. Aside from just combine numbers (where he beats out Asiata and Williams in raw and weight-adjusted explosion, strength and speed scores), Banyard has shown elusiveness in his limited time in preseason and camp that Asiata has not. Banyard has good balance and speed, which is where his elusiveness comes from—adapting to defenders instead of juking to create space.

Weaknesses: Despite that balance and speed, Banyard did not show the agility to make jump cuts or prevent tackles with deception and doesn’t plant well enough to be particularly effective in zone schemes despite the fact that he prefers to run outside than between the tackles. In 2013 camp, he had a lot of problems holding on to the ball, dropping passes multiple times in practices (three times alone in one practice) and fumbling more than once in limited reps as well. He dropped from the third string to the fourth string over the course of camp somewhat quickly.

It’s been an exhausting day for those who have attempted to keep track of the Adrian Peterson case, one where the Vikings saw fit to deactivate Adrian Peterson from Sunday’s game (either as a PR move, a moral stance or to give time to let Adrian handle the case, depending on who you ask).

Over the course of the day, I’ve been peppered with football questions, and I don’t really mind that. It’s easy for me to answer questions about his cap status, his roster status, the NFL’s response, what the Vikings will do on Sunday, what the Vikings will do on the following Sundays, who will take his place, what this means for the 2015 draft and whether or not Matt Asiata is a better play in fantasy than Toby Gerhart.

I think maybe it’s insensitive to focus primarily on the personal impact of an external tragedy on the onset, but brains move quickly and I’m not confident it’s difficult to feel immense sympathy for the child involved in the case and also balance the broader implications of removing one of the biggest chess pieces from the board.

Your mileage may vary, and I respect that.

Still, I’m going to talk about football.


First, Prevent Child Abuse America has an “A” rating from Charity Watch and three stars from Charity Navigator, with full marks for transparency. You can donate here. I urge you to learn about who they are and what they do so you know exactly what you are supporting. I prefer Children’s Defense Fund, but they are a much broader organization in terms of what they advocate, including work to address children’s poverty and deal with social safety nets.

Additional details pour in on the Adrian Peterson child injury case, and it’s difficult to keep up to date with all of them in one post while also collecting my thoughts or providing information on the mechanics of what the team will do.


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Local Houston news has reported that Adrian Peterson has been indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child. He has been indicted in Montgomery County by a Grand Jury. Isiah Carey with Fox 26 in Houston reports that the charges stem directly from allegations that Peterson beat his young son (which may be an exaggeration for effect. See updates below) . In that Carey report, Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin (the same lawyer who represented Roger Clemens and won his acquittal) has confirmed the indictment but nothing more. Phil Grant of the Montgomery County District Attorney says they cannot comment on the case until Peterson is in custody.

Most disturbing:

Once source says there are photos of the child’s injuries now in the possession of investigators with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Here’s a link to the relevant Texas statute. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports has re-reported it, but I do not know if he is confirming reports or simply restating previous reports.

UPDATE: Per Jay Glazer, Peterson will cooperate with law enforcement and may not be available for the weekend.

UPDATE2: Isiah Carey reports an update on the Grand Jury proceedings. Evidently the Grand Jury “no billed” the Peterson case, meaning there was not enough evidence to indict. When the district attorney presented a second time, the panel accepted the criminal charge.

Further context: Adrian Peterson was inactive yesterday, but only as part of a veteran’s day of rest. He was seen at the beginning and end of practice. Today, he was in the building and was in Winter Park as of two hours ago.

UPDATE3: The Vikings are currently deciding on Peterson’s status for the weekend, per Jay Glazer.

UPDATE4: According to Ian Rapaport, the investigation has been going on for some time. Peterson testified to the Grand Jury weeks ago.

UPDATE5: And Ian also reports that the charges stem from Adrian disciplining his son with a switch.

I… uh… evidently need to clarify that a switch is a thin tree branch. This strongly implies that the story is (because the statute is distinct from intentional injury) a case of going beyond the bounds of the law in disciplining the child. This is not to undersell the point—an indictment implies he went over the top.

CLARIFICATION: Some people are interpreting this statement (I previously used the word overzealousness) to mean that I am ethically OK with corporal punishment for children. That is not the intent, nor the conversation I wish to start or be involved in. The point I am making is that Texas law has distinctions between intentional injury to a child and reckless/negligent injury to a child, and that most forms of corporal punishment do not receive indictments to that effect, regardless of the ethics surrounding corporal punishment.

Which is to say the law would interpret most forms of corporal punishment as not a chargeable offense, but that beyond a certain threshold would be subject to a felony charge. Here, a reckless/negligent injury charge would imply that the act of discipline is not what is under question, but the extent to which he disciplined the child. The legal interpretation of the events would imply that he did not intend to injure the child, but did through his own negligence.

UPDATE6: From Isiah Carey at Fox 26 again:

Brady Fitzgerald with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office says they investigated Peterson for injury to a child and then turned the case over to the District Attorney to present to a grand jury. However, Fitzgerald says Peterson has not been arrested.

We should also expect a statement from an attorney soon.


We’re told the child returned home to his mother in Minn. who noticed injuries and took the child to a doctor. A short time later, the doctor contacted authorities in Texas to report Adrian.

The alleged victim is an 11-year-old boy, per TMZ (dispute below by a more credible source). TMZ has changed their report to accord with WCCO and CBS and is now reporting the boy is four years old.

UDPATE8: Chris Tomasson reports that ESPN reports Peterson has not been arrested.

UPDATE9: Statement from the Vikings —

The Vikings are in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson. At this time, we will defer further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin.

UPDATE10: NFL.com has a story running now. This is their current update based on their investigations:

Lt. Fitzgerald of Montgomery County Texas Police confirmed to NFL Media that they have investigated the case. An unknown police department called the City of Houston Police Department with a complaint of child endangerment, and Houston referred it to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office where the alleged case occurred.

UPDATE11: Being found guilty of this specific law incurs a prison sentence of 2-10 years, which can be reduced via plea bargain, according to Michael McCann.

UPDATE12: CBS reports have pictures, if you’re inclined to see them, and a few more details. As you’d expect, the pictures are of welts and lacerations.

Sports Radio 610 in Houston obtained a draft of the police report which says Peterson admitted that he did, in his words, “whoop” one of his children last May while the boy was visiting him in Houston.

When the 4-year-old boy returned to Minnesota, his mother took him to a doctor. The police report said the boy told the doctor Peterson had hit him with a branch from a tree.

The doctor told investigators that the boy had a number of lacerations on his thighs, along with bruise-like marks on his lower back and buttocks and cuts on his hand.

The police report says the doctor described some of the marks as open wounds and termed it “child abuse.” Another examiner agreed, calling the cuts “extensive.”

When investigators questioned Peterson, they say he told them he regarded it as a normal spanking and not excessive. A grand jury seated earlier this summer decided not to charge him.

This confirms a few things: that it was his son, the extent of the injuries, and that the question of the case is not whether or not Peterson used a switch on his child, but the extent to which he did and if it exceeds Texas’ threshold for negligent injury.

The biggest discrepancy is the age of the child, which was reported above as 11 years old, which TMZ claims to have received from Child Protective Services, which does not square with the CBS report obtained from Sports Radio 610 in Houston of the drafted police report.

UPDATE13: Rusty Hardin is evidently out of the country, per Ben Volin.

UPDATE14: As McCann continues to clarify, the indictment is not public and the charge may be different than what we’ve been told. This might bring to light two things: 1) why the earlier grand jury no billed Peterson (it could have been a different charge and therefore proof of burden on relevant evidence) or 2) the distinction between neglect, reckless, or intentional infliction of injury. There are a myriad of other complications that might bring up, too.

WCCO has multiple sources that have confirmed this specific charge. We shall see.

UPDATE15: From reddit, a person who claims to be a child abuse detective says the following:

  • The assault/injury to the child occurred some time ago and a report was filed.

  • That report was forwarded to the Grand Jury as a “Grand Jury Referral.” Basically that means that no charges have been filed, but the prosecutor (and possibly a detective) want to present the evidence to a jury and ask them if they believe it is something that someone should be arrested for.

  • The case was presented once, No-Billed (meaning not enough evidence to justify arrest or trial) The prosecutor presented it again. Typically this is only done if there is new evidence to be presented, but prosecutors can be sneaky and resubmit it to the grand jury after a new jury is seated (In my county, the jury is replaced every 3 months)

  • Once this jury true-billed the charge, a warrant was issued for AD and a bond was set by a judge to accompany the warrant.

  • AD and his attorneys more than likely agreed to turn himself in, he’ll post bond immediately and spend zero time in jail outside of the booking/processing

  • This will go to trial or be plead out, but I’d be surprised if it happens during this football season. Typically our cases don’t go to trial for a year or more.

  • Injury to a Child has different felony levels based upon the injuries the child suffered or the circumstances behind the injuries. This one is being reported as Injury to a Child/reckless/negligence. That is what we call a State Jail felony. State Jail Felonies carry a maximum of 2 years in jail and are typically plead out to probation. The weird thing is if this was a case of him “beating” his child it would have likely been filed as Injury to a Child/knowing/intentional which is either a Felony 3 (2-10 years) or a Felony 1 ( (Felony 1 if there is intentional “serious bodily injury or death”) Most of the time the reckless/negligence comes when a parent over-disciplines a child by spanking them with a belt or extension cord leaving pattern bruises and cuts on the child’s body. I would suspect that was the case here.

  • EDIT: There is a Injury to a Child/Negligence/Reckless that is a Felony 2. However that requires serious bodily injury or death that was caused by negligence or reckless behavior. If that were the case here, it probably would have been indicted the first time it was presented. Going to wager this is the state jail felony variety.

Of course all of this is speculation based on the current rumors and my personal job experience.

UPDATE16: Tom Pelissero has the eighteenth confirmation of the charge, but adds the detail that a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

UPDATE17: Rusty Hardin has released a statement (from overseas, evidently), per Chris Tomasson:

Adrian Peterson has been informed that he was indicted by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas for Injury to a Child. The charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son. This indictment follows Adrian’s full cooperation with authorities who have been looking into this matter. Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas. Adrian has never hidden from what happened. He 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. It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

Take that for what you will. It is definitely his son.

UPDATE18: It gets worse. According to CBS Houston:

The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson then texted the boy’s mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

. . .

According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.” The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.” He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson “likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.”

The CBS Houston story has more alleged texts from Peterson to the mother of the child.

The photographs are worse than you think. Per the reporter of the story, the photographs in that CBS story were taken a week after the incident.

UPDATE19: The Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson for Sunday’s game.

UPDATE20: From Jay Glazer:

UPDATE21: Looks like the intuition about the nature of charges and intent are playing a role. Per @StephStradley:

It’s been said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. Yep. But looks like Peterson’s lawyer involved early. Can help pre-indictment.

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Legally, hardest part of Peterson’s defense will be age of child and negligence/reckless w/ a child that age. That will be prosecution focus

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Translating my last tweet: Law looks at INTENT to cause bodily injury. Different mental states. This case, “negligent” or “reckless.”

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Attn: followers of @mikefreemanNFL. Talking law stuff. “Bodily injury” is still serious in TX even if not called “Serious Bodily Injury”

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


State of mind of “reckless”/”negligence” easier to prove w/”serious bodily injury” (death risk/ disability) than “bodily injury” (still bad)

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014


Can’t see a plea RT @TxAgSheepdog he has Rusty Hardin. The DAs office might as well try for a deal now bc their gonna get schooled in trial.

— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) September 12, 2014

UPDATE22: More from the CBS story.

In an interview with Houston police, Peterson was very matter-of-fact and calm about the incident, appearing to believe he had done nothing wrong and reiterating how much he cared about his son and only used “whoopings” or “spankings” as a last resort. He offered up information that the police didn’t have and was incredulous when asked if some of the numerous wounds and marks on the child were from an extension cord, saying, “Oh, no, I’d never hit my child with an extension cord. I remember how it feels to get whooped with an extension cord. I’d never do that.”

Peterson also said, “Anytime I spank my kids, I talk to them before, let them know what they did, and of course after.” Peterson also expressed regret that his son did not cry – because then, Peterson said, he would have known that the switch was doing more damage than intended. He didn’t realize the “tip of the switch and the ridges of the switch were wrapping around [the child’s] legs.” Peterson also acknowledged that this was administered directly to the child’s skin and with the child’s pants pulled down.

Peterson later told police that the marks on his son’s buttocks were similar to the marks any of his other children get when he “spanks them with a switch,” but that the mark on the child’s leg from when the switch “wrapped around his thigh” was more severe than anything he had ever done in the past.

After the child returned home to Minnesota in late May, the mother took the son to his previously scheduled doctor appointment  and the doctor that examined the child said the injuries were consistent with child abuse and that it appeared the child had injuries from one incident involving a “switch” and another incident possibly involving a cord.

UPDATE23: The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has a statement

On Thursday, September 11, 2014, a Montgomery County Grand Jury, “true billed”, Adrian Lewis Peterson on a charge of injury to a child. On today’s date at 2:47 PM, a warrant was issued and entered for the arrest of Adrian Peterson for that charge.

Since the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has referred the case to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and the investigation has led to a, “true bill”, on a criminal offense, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will not discuss details in reference to the case or investigation.

At the time of this release, Adrian Peterson is not in custody at the Montgomery County Jail and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office does not have any details in the arrest of Adrian Peterson.

UPDATE24: Ben Goessling reports that Adrian’s lawyer says Peterson “will surrender” to authorities

UPDAYE25: In what is likely the final update for this specific post, Adrian has turned himself in and is in a Montgomery County jail, per Ryan Parker of the LA Times. He was then released after posting a $15,000 bond per Greg Rosenthal.

UPDATE26: I guess that wasn’t the last detail. Jay Glazer is reporting that the bond was $21,000. Generally the most reliable insider in the business, it might be prudent to go with his amount. The specific details are perhaps irrelevant but it’s good to strive for accuracy, even if in this case the detail doesn’t change much.

More to be summarized here as more information comes in.

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