On Friday evening, South Dakota police confirmed to NFL Media that the two-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson died from injuries suffered during an alleged domestic abuse incident. As we reported earlier Friday, Peterson missed practice on Thursday to travel to South Dakota for what was called 'personal reasons.' Peterson's two-year-old son was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital on Wednesday after suffering a severe beating. Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Patterson, who had been dating the boy's mother, is being held without bond at Minnehaha County Jail on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant.
The police are withholding the name of the child, per the family's request.
Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press said via Twitter on Friday morning that he spoke with Nelson Peterson, Adrian's father, who told him that the child is indeed Adrian's.
"We are asking for prayers and for respect for our family as deal with this tragic situation," Nelson Peterson told Jensen. ESPN's John Clayton confirmed the report.
According to Sioux Falls Police Lt. Blaine Larsen, Patterson was the only one home with the boy, and it was Patterson who called the police. Patterson was arrested on Thursday evening after an investigation.
Peterson returned to the team's Winter Park facility in time for Friday's practice. The Vikings will host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
"He had a difficult day," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "We expect him to play, but we'll talk more over the next 24 hours."
Before it was known that the boy had passed away, Peterson told local media that he would play "without a doubt," and asked that his privacy, and the privacy of his family, be respected.
“Football is something I will always fall back on," he concluded. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life -- guys supporting me and just being able to go out and play this game I love. Things that I go through, I’ve said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level. I’m able to release a lot of stress through this sport, so that's what I plan on doing." It is not known how or if this horrific development will change Peterson's plans.