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Peterson agrees to misdemeanor plea deal; avoids prison, trial

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Adrian Peterson on Tuesday agreed to a plea bargain, pleading no contest to a Class A misdemeanor of reckless assault. It's a reduced penalty compared to the original felony child abuse charge issued to him by a grand jury in Montgomery County, Texas.

Judge Kelly Case accepted Peterson's plea and fined the Minnesota Vikings' star running back $4,000, the cost of court, along with 80 hours of community service and probation. Half of Peterson's community service will be served through a public service announcement.

In taking the lesser offense, Peterson waived his right to a jury trial.

Peterson, according to ESPN's Michele Steele, entered the courtroom with his wife, parents and attorney, Rusty Hardin. Peterson was then taken to another room, possibly to take a drug test, as speculated by the Star Tribune's Rochelle Olson.

Peterson was indicted Sept. 12 for reckless or negligent injury to a child in Montgomery County, Texas. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, although he admitted to punishing his 4-year-old son by hitting him with a thin, flexible tree branch, also known as a "switch."

The question now is if/when the NFL will reinstate Peterson, who hasn't played since Week 1 of the regular season and remains on paid leave from the team.

In an email to Pro Football Talk, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said a decision on whether Peterson can resume playing won't be made until court documents are reviewed.

“We will review the court documents,” Aiello's email said. “We cannot speculate on a timetable for a decision.”

On Monday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that a plea deal wouldn't necessarily pave the way to Peterson playing football right away.

The Vikings have won two consecutive games entering this week's open date. With a record of four wins and five losses, they remain within striking distance of the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions (6-2) and second place Green Bay Packers (5-3). Minnesota's next game is Nov. 16 at the Chicago Bears (3-5).

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