ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Gov. Mark Dayton has a theory on why so many Minnesota Vikings and other NFL players have been in trouble with the law -- he says they have too much time on their hands and they have similarities with soldiers returning from war.

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday, the governor said NFL players are off about half the year.

He compares football to combat, calling it "slightly civilized war." He said he doesn't excuse bad behavior, but adjusting to normal life is a challenge.

Dayton calls Vikings running back Adrian Peterson "an upstanding citizen and really fine role model." He notes that Peterson denies he was responsible for an altercation with an off-duty police officer at a Houston nightclub July 7.