Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson missed practice Thursday in order to be at the hospital bedside of his critically injured 2-year-old son. His son has since died of his injuries – see UPDATE below.
Peterson traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota after learning that his child had been severely beaten by the man his ex-girlfriend is currently dating. She and the boy reportedly moved into his apartment some time ago. The youngster’s mother was not at home when the assault took place.
Joseph Patterson called 911 at 5:43 p.m. Wednesday to report that a child in his care was chocking and needed medical help. Doctors who examined the boy at an area hospital quickly determined that the child’s injuries were consistent with abuse. He remains hospitalized in critical condition, suffering from severe head injuries.
Police arrested Patterson, 27, on a charge of aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant. They indicate he has a history of domestic violence. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison. Bail was set at $750,000.
Investigators have not publicly named Peterson as the father of the injured child, but the Argus Leader reported yesterday, “Adrian Peterson remains in Sioux Falls where he is dealing with a medical issue involving a young family member that likely will be a police matter. It is a very serious health issue.”
The NFL player was back at the Vikings’ facility Friday, where he took part in a light walk through in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers at the Minneapolis Metrodome.
Peterson made a brief statement to reporters at Winter Park Friday afternoon: “This is a private matter, and I ask y’all to please respect my privacy and not ask at all about the situation at hand.”
No. 28 is currently second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns. Regarding his decision to play this week, he responded, “I’m able to release a lot of stress through sports.”
UPDATE: KSTP has confirmed that Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son died Friday afternoon of injuries suffered from a brutal beating in Sioux Falls, SD. The NFLer’s father Nelson Peterson provided that update to the Pioneer Press shortly after the Sioux Falls Police Department issued a press release to report the death of the toddler.
Peterson told reporters several hours ago, “Football is always something I’ll fall back on. It gets me through tough times. Being around the guys, that’s what I need.”
He added, “One thing that I always bounce back to is that the good Lord never gives you more than you can handle. I’m built tough.”
Adrian hit Twitter after a few comments after news of his son’s death spread late Friday afternoon:
Photo: Facebook-Adrian Peterson