By Steve Silverman
» More Columns

There’s a rotten smell coming out of the Upper Midwest, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The cause of that smell is embattled Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who played in just one game last season because he was on the commissioner’s exempt list following his indictment for reckless injury to a child last September.

Peterson is hoping to be fully reinstated by the NFL by April 15 — or even sooner if federal judge David Doty rules in favor of the NFLPA, which sued the league on the running back’s behalf.

It seems quite likely that Peterson will be allowed to participate with his team again, but he is balking at the idea of returning to the Vikings. Peterson has been complaining that he didn’t like the way some of the Viking’ front-office personnel did not support him after news of his indictment and the behavior that led to his issues became public.

He called it an “ambush” by certain members of the organization, and said that people he “trusted” did not back him the way he expected.

Peterson is taking quite a self-righteous tone, as if he is the injured party. But he’s the one who left marks on his child while punishing him. marks that forced the child’s mother to seek medical attention for her youngster. Bruises that caused the physician taking care of the child to contact the authorities in Texas.

That’s how the indictment came about, and a lot of people were taken aback at how a 235-pound All-Pro running back at the peak of his physical strength could use his force so violently on a child. Corporal punishment is not accepted by all members of society, and even those who believe in it do not think injury that warrants attention from a physician is in any way acceptable.

So, if there were members of the Vikings’ organization that were not overly thrilled with Peterson, good for them. He may be the franchise’s meal ticket and one of the NFL’s top running backs over the last 15 years, but there are many of us who believe that his behavior was completely intolerable, and even worse than the knockout blow landed by Ray Rice on his fiancé in that Atlantic City casino last year.

There’s no excuse for a pro football player — or anyone, for that matter — to strike a woman, but at least she was a full-grown human being. Beating a six-year-old boy with a stick and causing physical damage and injury? That’s brutality that borders on unforgivable.

There’s no argument with Peterson wanting to play again, but to raise the flag of righteous indignation because some of the suits in the Vikings’ front office didn’t come to his defense and say “attaboy” is simply the height of arrogance.

He should be thrilled that head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Ron Turner still support him and want him to come back to the Vikings. As long as he has a scintilla of support, he can earn back some goodwill by doing everything the team asks of him once he is reinstated and showing contrition by working on behalf of battered children.

Remember, Peterson got paid while he was on the exempt list, and he is scheduled to receive a base salary of $12.75 million in 2015.

However, that’s not good enough for Peterson. He’s unhappy with the way he’s been treated, and he would like to return to his native Texas and play for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, if published reports are accurate.

Should Peterson get reinstated but refuse to play for the Vikings — he has not said he would do that — the team will have a right to be angry. If he somehow ends up with the Cowboys, the issue of tampering may very well be raised.

Peterson says he is “praying” about his future. He should be praying to be reinstated and begging for forgiveness for his heinous behavior.

Instead, Peterson appears to be acting like a martyr who wants to worm his way out of Minnesota.