Adrian Peterson, a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings, has been charged in a child injury case in Montgomery County, Tex.

Rusty Hardin, a lawyer for Peterson, 29, confirmed the indictment in a statement, explaining that the case stemmed from his discipline of his son — spanking him with a tree branch. Peterson has cooperated with law enforcement in the case and testified before a grand jury for several hours, Hardin said.

“Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son,” said Hardin, adding that Peterson had experienced such discipline as a child himself in East Texas. “Adrian has never hidden from what happened.”

He added, “It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury.

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The Vikings, who play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday, said Peterson had been deactivated and would not play in the game. The Vikings had said in a statement that they are “in the process of gathering information regarding the legal situation involving Adrian Peterson.” They deferred questions to Hardin.

The news of Peterson’s indictment comes at time when the N.F.L.’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, has been under siege over his handling of a domestic abuse case involving another star player — Ray Rice of the Ravens. The release of a video footage of Rice punching his then-fiancée prompted the N.F.L. to order an outside investigation into how league officials investigated the case and decided on a two-game suspension.

An N.F.L. spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment on the Peterson case. Peterson participated in the Vikings’ practice Friday.

As of Friday, Peterson had not been arrested, according to a statement from the Montgomery County sheriff’s office provided to Fox 26 in Houston. The sheriff’s office said that a grand jury on Sept. 11 had “true billed” — essentially an indictment — Peterson on the injury to a child charge.

“A warrant was issued and entered for Adrian Peterson for that charge,” the sheriff’s office said, without releasing further details about the investigation that led to the charge.

Messages with the Montgomery County’s district attorney’s office, which presented the case to the grand jury, was not immediately returned.

Peterson missed training camp practices on August 20 and 21 for what the team called personal reasons. He did not play in any preseason games. In last Sunday’s season opener, Peterson ran for 75 yards on 21 carries in a 34-6 victory at St. Louis, a performance he called mediocre.

On Friday, Peterson practiced before news of the indictment broke and did not appear upset, laughing and joking with teammates. The day before, Peterson took part in warm-ups but sat out the main part of practice; Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer called it a “veterans day.”

Peterson, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns in eight seasons. He has also caught 208 passes for 1,715 yards and five scores. He is a two-time N.F.L. rushing champion who set the league single-game record of 296 yards as a rookie in 2007. His 2,097 yards rushing in 2012, the year he won the league’s Most Valuable Player award, ranks second in N.F.L. history to Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 in 1984. He holds Vikings career records for rushing yardage (10,190) and touchdowns (86).

As a 7-year-old, Peterson watched a drunken driver strike and kill his brother Brian, then 9, who was riding a bicycle. Peterson’s father, Nelson, spent almost seven years in prison for laundering drug money from selling crack cocaine.

A half brother of Peterson’s, Chris Paris, was shot and killed in Houston the night before Peterson attended the N.F.L. combine in 2007.

In July 2012, Peterson was charged with resisting arrest outside a nightclub in Houston, not far from his off-season home. Peterson and Hardin disputed the Houston police’s version of events, and a grand jury declined to indict him.

And last October, Tyrese Ruffin, a 2-year-old son Peterson did not know about until a few months before, was killed in Sioux Falls, S.D. Joseph Robert Patterson, the boyfriend of Ruffin’s mother, awaits trial for murder next month.

Peterson, who has two surviving children, married his longtime girlfriend Ashley Brown last July.

:nytimes

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