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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson deactivated after indictment on child abuse charge

Adrian Peterson looks on before a game against

Adrian Peterson looks on before a game against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 13, 2013. Credit: Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted in Montgomery County, Texas, on Friday on the charge of injury to a child.

Later in the afternoon, the Vikings deactivated Peterson for Sunday's home game against the Patriots.

Peterson's indictment comes five days after running back Ray Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after a video was released showing him punching his fiancee, Janay Palmer, and knocking her out in an elevator of an Atlantic City casino.

The Peterson indictment charges that he injured his 4-year-old son in May. Peterson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, confirmed the indictment late Friday afternoon.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's office said a warrant had been issued but that Peterson was not in custody. Peterson is expected to surrender to authorities.

Hardin, who represented former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens in federal court on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to Congress, said Peterson used a "switch" -- a small tree branch -- to spank his son.

"Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son," Hardin said in a statement. "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."

TMZ Sports posted pictures of the boy on its website, showing bruises and scratches on his legs.

It is uncertain if the team or the NFL will take any further action against Peterson.

Peterson is subject to the league's personal-conduct policy and could face a suspension. The league last month strengthened its domestic violence policy, increasing suspensions for first-time offenders to at least six games, although additional measures can be taken based on certain circumstances. A second offense is punishable by a minimum one-year banishment.

Hardin said Peterson testified in late August in front of the grand jury that indicted him. Peterson had missed practices Aug. 21-22, with the team citing personal reasons for his absence.

The Vikings released a statement Friday saying they're in the process of gathering information about Peterson's legal situation and deferred comment to Hardin.

In October 2013, Peterson's 2-year-old son died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after allegedly being beaten by a man who was dating the child's mother. Peterson had found out that he was the boy's father only two months before the child's death. The man who assaulted the child, Joseph Robert Patterson, was charged with murder and manslaughter.

Peterson is in his eighth NFL season and has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns.

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