If asked, Peterson to plead not guilty

Adrian Peterson will be present at Wednesday’s court hearing and enter a plea of not guilty if asked by the judge at his first hearing on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will plead not guilty if asked to enter a plea in his first court appearance at 9 a.m. Central Wednesday, according to Mary Flood, a spokesperson for Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.

Peterson is facing a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child in Montgomery County, Texas. Peterson will be present in the courthouse, Flood said in an e-mail to Viking Update.

If Peterson is asked to enter a plea and follows through by answering not guilty, it likely means his case won’t go to trial until 2015, according to what assistant district attorney Phil Grant said in a press conference after the indictment was made public last month. That would seem to indicate Peterson won’t play again in 2014.

“I don’t know that (a trial is) not going to happen in 2014,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday. “Honestly, I want the best for Adrian, number one. Okay? But I also have to coach the guys that are here and go forward. If things get resolved and it’s a good thing, then the more power to him. We will worry about that when the time comes.”

Zimmer has talked with Peterson since the indictment and is “assuming” Peterson is probably in shape, but hasn’t asked him about that.

Peterson has admitted to disciplining one of his 4-year-old sons with a switch, but said in a statement through Hardin that he never intended to injury him.

“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,” Hardin said in the statement released the day the indictment became public.

“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.”

Peterson intends to take the case to trial if charges aren’t dropped.

The Vikings deactivated Peterson for their Week 2 game against the New England Patriots, reinstated him after that game but changed course again after backlash from politicians, the public and sponsors caused them to reconsider. They placed him on the exempt-commissioner’s permission list after that. He hasn’t played since the charges became public following the regular-season opener and would have to be reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before he could play again.

Widely considered the best running back in the league, Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in his eight-year career including a 2,097-yard season in 2012 that fell 9 yards short of the all-time record.

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