MINNEAPOLIS — Plenty of No. 28 purple jerseys showed up for Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings home opener. None were worn by the face of the franchise.
Adrian Peterson did not accompany the team to the stadium for the game against New England, keeping his distance after the Vikings deactivated him because of charges that he beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.
Peterson, a popular former NFL MVP, was indicted on Friday and flew to Houston early Saturday morning to turn himself in. He was booked and released and returned to Minnesota.
Peterson was deactivated and has not been suspended, meaning he was eligible to come to the game and watch from the sideline.
But the controversy swirling his arrest would have made Peterson’s presence at the game a considerable distraction. He is accused of repeatedly striking the boy, and Peterson has acknowledged to authorities that he did so as a means of discipline.
Peterson’s lawyer issued a statement on Friday that said Peterson was using the same type of discipline he received as a child and did not intend to harm the boy.
The arrest rocked a league that has already been under heavy criticism for the way it handled former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s assault of his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator and cast Peterson’s future with the team into question.
No initial court date has been set and it remained unclear how the Vikings will handle the situation beyond this week. General manager Rick Spielman is expected to address the team’s plans early this week after the team has gathered more information on the matter.
Panthers’ Hardy inactive against Lions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers benched Greg Hardy for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with the defensive end involved in an ongoing domestic violence case.
Carolina listed Hardy as inactive just two days after Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the Pro Bowler would play.
Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing the ruling. He was active against Tampa Bay in Week 1.
Wes Horton started in Hardy’s spot.
Carolina’s sitting of Hardy comes in the wake of personal conduct incidents involving Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.
Robert Griffin III suffers leg injury
LANDOVER, Md. — Robert Griffin III departed with his left ankle in a splint, and DeSean Jackson walked off gingerly supporting his left arm and shoulder Sunday in the first quarter of the Washington Redskins’ game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Redskins announced that neither would return.
Griffin was hurt while making an acrobatic, leaping, across-the-body throw near the sideline while being pursued by linebacker Paul Posluszny. Griffin landed awkwardly on his ankle as he finished the throw and then tumbled out of bounds. The pass was caught by Jackson for an 11-yard gain.
While play continued, Griffin’s leg was placed in a splint.
Dolphins’ Moreno out after hurting left elbow
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Miami Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno hurt his left elbow on his first carry against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday .
The Dolphins announced Moreno and would not return.
Driving up the middle for a 4-yard gain, Moreno was initially hit on the right side by safety Nickell Robey. Linebacker Nigel Bradham then struck Moreno from the left, hitting him directly in the arm.
Moreno immediately clutched his left forearm as he lay on the field. He was attended to by trainers and then escorted to the locker room.
Bengals’ Green out with injured toe
CINCINNATI — Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green aggravated an injured toe during the Cincinnati Bengals’ opening series Sunday and was declared out for the rest of the game.
Green missed practice time during the week with an injured toe on his right foot. He started against the Falcons but came to the sideline after a few plays to have the foot examined. He walked off without assistance, limping slightly.
The Bengals lost two more players in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson hurt his left knee, and tight end Alex Smith hurt his left biceps. Both were declared out for the rest of the game.