Adrian Peterson pleads no contest to misdemeanor, avoids jail

DALLAS -- NFL star Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest Tuesday in a Texas court to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault, avoiding jail time for whipping one of his children.

Peterson appeared in a Montgomery County court in Conroe after prosecutors and his attorneys reached a plea deal. Judge Kelly Case agreed to the terms of the deal, in which Peterson pleaded to a lesser charge.

The Minnesota Vikings star was sentenced to two years deferred adjudication, a $4,000 fine, and 80 hours of community service, half of which will be taken care of by a community service announcement.

Peterson -- who in 2011 signed a seven-year contract worth more than $100 million and is considered one of the NFL's best running backs, if not the best -- left the Vikings in September after the team deactivated, then activated and then deactivated him again.

He was accused in Texas of whipping his 4-year-old son with a "switch," or slender tree branch, and had originally been charged with felony child abuse. He faced up to two years in prison and a fine.

His attorney, Rusty Hardin, has said his client never meant to harm the boy and was simply doling out discipline much like what "he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas." Peterson likewise defended hims