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Adrian Peterson suspended for 'at least' the rest of the 2014 NFL season

The former MVP will not be back on the field in 2014.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will not play again in 2014 and maybe longer after the NFL denied his reinstatement request this week. The NFL notified the media via press release on Tuesday morning that Peterson's reinstatement had been denied and he has been suspended without pay for "at least" the rest of the 2014 season.

Peterson will appeal his suspension, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. A hearing to resolve that is expected to happen in short order. The NFLPA has asked for a neutral third party arbitrator to handle the appeal.

The length of Peterson's suspension will depend on the counseling program he was referred to by the league. The Vikings running back will have to complete those steps and stay out of trouble before the NFL will reinstate him.

Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the decision in a statement:

"The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."

Peterson has three days to appeal the decision under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. If he appeals the decision, Peterson will stay on the commissioner's exempt list, and still collect his pay, while the appeal proceeds. Peterson will lose $4 million in salary for the balance of the 2014 season and has no more guaranteed money owed, according to Ian Rapoport.

The Vikings acknowledged the NFL's decision, but declined to comment.

Peterson's camp had been hopeful the league would reinstate the All-Pro running back after he concluded his child abuse case by pleading no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault earlier this month. Peterson, who has not played since Week 1, was placed on the commissioner's exempt list after he was indicted on felony charges in Texas for whipping his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

On Sunday, Peterson refuted reports that he had skipped a disciplinary hearing on Friday with a statement that called the NFL's process "arbitrary, inconsistent, and contrary to what they agreed to do." Peterson says he never agreed to the hearing, and instead is waiting on a "standard" meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, per the league's collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL took a stronger stance on disciplining Peterson based on the nature of his actions and the league's recently enacted domestic violence policy. Goodell cited the nature of Peterson's action, hitting his son with a tree branch multiple times, in explaining the decision to suspend him indefinitely.

"First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old. The difference in size and strength between you and the child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury to the child. While an adult may have a number of options when confronted with abuse - to flee, to fight back, or to seek help from law enforcement - none of those options is realistically available to a four-year old child. Further, the injury inflicted on your son includes the emotional and psychological trauma to a young child who suffers criminal physical abuse at the hands of his father.

"Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete.

"Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct. When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not ‘eliminate whooping my kids' and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother. You also said that you felt ‘very confident with my actions because I know my intent.' These comments raise the serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future."