Sources report Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson’s son has died in Sioux Falls, SD after an alleged beating by the child’s mother’s boyfriend on Wednesday night. At the family’s request, the child’s name is being withheld. Our condolences go to Peterson and his family, and our hearts are broken by this tragedy.
Peterson did not practice Thursday and requested privacy while he dealt with the matter. He returned to Minnesota as of Friday, and plans to play in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
This is not the first time tragedy has visited Peterson’s family. When he was seven years old, he witnessed his older brother, Brian being hit and killed by a drunk driver. Six years later, his father Nelson was arrested on money laundering charges in connection with a drug dealer. His father was sentenced to 10 years for those charges. The day before his NFL combine appearance, Peterson’s half-brother Chris was shot to death in Houston.
Peterson turned to sports to channel his anger and grief. He ran track and played basketball at Palestine High School. Football is where his athletic genius was revealed. Peterson rushed for 2960 yards and 32 touchdowns during his time at Palestine High School. He was awarded National Player of the Year honors from numerous outlets.
At University of Oklahoma, Peterson continued his football career, but missed four games in his sophomore year due to a high ankle sprain. He missed seven games in his junior year to a broken collarbone, but declared himself for the NFL draft the next year, 2007.
Despite lingering questions about his college injuries, Peterson was drafted 7th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson performed well in the NFL, with multiple Pro Bowl selections and displayed his talent for the game until a devastating leg injury in 2011. Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.
He underwent surgery on Dec. 30, and went into rehab with a single-minded drive that saw him return to play in the 2012 season. Questions about his ability to match his former skill and speed were put to rest as Peterson went on to challenge Eric Dickerson’s 28-year old single season rushing record. Despite falling short, Peterson was awarded the Most Valuable Player distinction for 2012. His accomplishments of the 2012 season are even more significant considering Peterson played much of the second half of the season with a painful sports hernia.
The news of Peterson’s son’s death came to light Wednesday night when police received a 911 call about a child choking. Upon arrival, officers and EMS workers found an unresponsive 2-year old child and rushed him to the hospital. Doctors on duty confirmed the child’s injuries were not due to accident, and appeared to be caused by abuse.
Police report the child’s mother was not home at the time, but arrested her boyfriend, 27-year old Joseph Patterson on aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant. Now that the child has died, police spokesman Sam Clemens reported the state attorney’s office will review the case and are considering more charges against Patterson.
Patterson is being held on $750,000 cash bond and the courts revoked two 1-year suspended sentences for previous domestic violence charges involving a simple assault and violating an order to stay away from the victim of the same case.
Clemens stated the investigation will focus on the injuries to the child and “the father does not come into play.”
Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier stated Peterson had ”a difficult day” and left open the possibility that he will not play in Sunday’s game. Peterson, however, stated, he “will be ready to roll (and) focused.” Peterson further indicated that playing football has always been an outlet for him. ”I’m able to release a lot of my stress through (football), so that’s what I plan on doing.”
Peterson is not one to discuss or display his personal life to the media, but he has made public appearance with his daughter Adeja (8) and his son, Adrian Peterson, Jr. (2).
Our hearts and prayers go out the Adrian Peterson and his family during this time of tragedy. It is never easy to lose a loved one, and the loss of a child is pain no parent should ever know.
Written by: Brandi Tasby