adrian peterson

*A day before Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson makes his first court appearance in Texas, ESPN is reporting that he will plead not guilty to child abuse charges, and not even consider pleading guilty in an attempt to expedite his return to the playing field.

Mary Flood, the spokesperson for Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN.com in an email Tuesday that Peterson is committed to pleading not guilty to charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child, stemming from an incident where he used a switch, or small tree branch, to discipline his son during a visit to his home in Texas earlier this year.

Peterson’s initial appearance in Montgomery County, Texas, is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

“If the court asks for a plea tomorrow [and we do expect that to happen], it will very definitely be NOT guilty,” Flood wrote. “We hope that a trial date is also discussed but don’t yet know how the court’s docket is looking.”

Unless Hardin is able to secure a quick trial date and convince a jury that Peterson did not violate Texas’ corporal punishment law while disciplining his son, it likely means the running back’s 2014 season is over.

Montgomery County first assistant DA Phil Grant had previously said it typically takes nine to 12 months before a trial begins in such cases. Flood did not want to predict how soon a trial could take place, adding it depends on the availability on Judge Kelly Case’s docket.

“I hope we learn more tomorrow,” Flood said, “but it’s possible that we won’t get a date tomorrow and we’ll just get the beginnings of discussions about a date.”

Peterson has been on the NFL’s exempt/commissioner’s permission list since Sept. 17, and he is receiving his full $11.75 million salary. Yet he is barred from all team activities until his case is resolved.

He maintained his innocence in a statement issued through Hardin on Sept. 15, saying, “I never ever intended to harm my son. I will say the same thing once I have my day in court.”

If he is convicted, he could face six months to two years in state prison, though he could be placed on probation as a first-time offender. He also could be subjected to NFL discipline under the league’s enhanced domestic violence policy, which can suspend players for up to six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune, this week published a detailed report that questions Peterson’s charity, family life and incidents where police were involved.

Peterson’s charity reportedly had questionable uses of funds. The newspaper found that a relative of Peterson’s told police in 2011 that he used a credit card from his foundation to pay for a hotel room that was used for a “night of drinking, arguing and sex that involved the running back [and] two relatives,” including his younger brother.

The report also details several encounters with police, including an incident where he was arrested, though not charged, after a fight at a Texas nightclub.

Peterson addressed the article on Twitter…