Adrian Peterson's name resurfaced Monday due to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune report detailing the Minnesota Vikings running back's previously unknown off-field troubles, including rape allegations levied against him around the end of the 2011 regular season and evidence that many of his charitable activities may have been shams.
The report is potentially damning to both the running back and the Vikings as an organization. The Vikings reportedly knew of Peterson's appearance in front of a Texas grand jury on charges of child abuse well before sponsors began fleeing the team and Peterson in droves. The Vikings' prized possession -- hosting the 2018 Super Bowl at their currently-under-construction new stadium -- was threatened when U.S. Bank, a prime candidate for the naming rights to the new stadium, put pressure on Minnesota to take action against Peterson.
Here are the more notable allegations from the report:
Peterson accused of rape at a hotel
Peterson was the subject of a lengthy police investigation after a night at a hotel involving "drinking, arguing and sex." Peterson and two relatives, including his brother, were with four women "in various pairs," according to the Star-Tribune. According to Peterson's other relative who was present, the hotel was paid for by a credit card in the name of Peterson's company, All Day, Inc.
As the night wore on, the report says, one woman who said she knew Peterson previously became upset when she saw him having sex with another woman. She started an argument that lasted at least an hour. According to the report, when she told him that she was "emotionally attached to him," Peterson reminded her that he was engaged to another woman and had a baby.
One of the women filed the complaint that led to the investigation the next day. Peterson's attorney said that the running back passed a polygraph test and tested "clean" for drugs.
Peterson's alleged infidelity
The hotel incident also shed light on Peterson's past infidelity. The Star-Tribune was able to dig up records that show Peterson has fathered at least six children with six different women out of wedlock (he was married earlier this year). Two of the children were born one month apart -- in May and June 2010 -- to different mothers. Peterson has in the past declined to detail exactly how many children he has.
Latest on Peterson
The report also called into question Peterson's philanthropy. The All Day Foundation, set up with the stated goal of helping at-risk children, showed $247,064 in total revenue on its 2011 financial report and reportedly donated to three listed organizations. The fourth recipient on the financial report was marked as "clothing for needy families" with an "unknown" number of recipients.
The Star-Tribune found further contradictions from past donations:
In 2009, the charity said its largest gift, $70,000, went to Straight From the Heart Ministries in Laurel, Md. But Donna Farley, president and founder of the Maryland organization, said it never received any money from Peterson's foundation. "There have been no outside [contributions] other than people in my own circle," said Farley. "Adrian Peterson - definitely not."
The East Texas Food Bank, based in Tyler, said it received money from Peterson's foundation in 2009, although the foundation's tax filing for the year listed just one donation to a food bank - the North Texas Food Bank, based in Dallas.
Colleen Brinkmann, the chief philanthropy officer for the North Texas Food Bank, said that while her agency partnered with Dallas Cowboys players, she could not recall ever getting money from the All Day Foundation. "Was he with the Cowboys before?" she asked of Peterson. "I'm not a football fan."
Sponsors force Vikings' hand
The Star-Tribune tallied the sponsors that threatened Peterson and the Vikings in the wake of the team's initial decision to let him return to the field for Week 3 after being benched for a game. The Vikings later reversed their decision, placing Peterson on the exempt/commissioner's permission list instead. The front office reportedly hadn't anticipated the weight of the backlash.
At Winter Park, the Vikings headquarters, team officials scrambled to contain the fallout. The team, which knew that Peterson had appeared before a Texas grand jury during the summer, had believed the assertions of their upbeat star player and his Texas attorney, who insisted that nothing would come of the case.
Companies like Carlson Cos., parent of Radisson Hotels, and U.S. Bank told the Vikings they would suspend their partnerships with the team if it didn't reverse its decision on Peterson. U.S. Bank's CEO, Richard Davis, and Carlson Cos. former board chair, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, headed the group that persuaded the NFL to hold the 2018 Super Bowl in Minnesota.
Vikings press conference, Photo credit: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images
The decision to indefinitely take Peterson off the field came after a marathon meeting between Peterson's agent and Vikings brass:
Now top Vikings executives huddled again, holding a nine-hour conference call with Peterson's agent, the NFL Players Association and other parties, running late into the evening. The decision to bench Peterson appeared on the Vikings website early the next day - at 12:47 a.m., with Wilf insisting that the news be announced as quickly as possible.
When Peterson landed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list, his fate was placed in the hands of Roger Goodell. It was only with the commissioner's blessing that the running back was granted (essentially) paid leave, and it is at the commissioner's discretion to decide when the running back can return to the field, if at all.
Peterson was not expected to return this season, facing a lengthy legal battle after being charged with abusing his son. The Star-Tribune's report could encourage the league to consider further punitive measures, however, or even the Vikings to act in the face of yet another blow to the organization's image. Whatever the case, don't expect to see Peterson play football any time soon, and perhaps never again in a Vikings uniform or in the NFL.