The 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has died from injuries sustained in an alleged assault by the boyfriend of the child’s mother, according to police in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Joseph Patterson, the mother’s 27-year-old boyfriend, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant. Police say the state attorney’s office is reviewing the case to consider additional charges against Patterson, who is being held in the Minnehaha County Jail.
Peterson, the NFL’s reigning most valuable player, spoke to the media at Vikings headquarters Friday and requested privacy.
“I really appreciate all the support that I’ve been receiving from fans, the Vikings organization,” Peterson said in a brief news conference in the locker room, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “This is a private matter and I would ask you all to please just respect my privacy and not ask at all about the situation at hand. Thanks.”
Police responded to a 911 call about a child who was choking. The toddler was unresponsive when police arrived. Doctors later determined his injuries were consistent with abuse and not accidental.
Police are withholding the child’s name at the request of the family.
The team excused Peterson from practice this week so he could be at his son’s bedside.
Peterson said he will play Sunday in a home game against Carolina, but Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier left open the possibility of Peterson not playing.
The running back explained his decision to return to practice Friday.
“Football is something I will always fall back on,” he said. “It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life.”