Peterson will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15, the league said in statement, for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in an "incident of abusive discipline that he inflicted on his 4-year-old son."
A six-time Pro Bowler, Peterson was arrested in September for disciplining his son by striking him with a switch, a thin tree branch with its leaves removed. The switch left cuts and bruises over much of the child's body.
Peterson, 29, pleaded no contest in a Conroe, Texas, courtroom earlier this month to a misdemeanor assault charge and must pay a $4,000 fine and perform community service.
In a letter to Peterson, NFL Commission Roger Goodell said "you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct."
"When indicted, you acknowledged what you did but said that you would not 'eliminate whooping my kids' and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother," Goodell wrote in the letter.
The NFL Players Association said it would appeal the suspension and will demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal.
Another NFL player, Ray Rice, has been suspended by the league after video showed the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching his then-fiancée. Rice is currently appealing that suspension.