EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is in critical condition after an alleged beating in Sioux Falls, S.D. While Peterson asked for privacy on Friday at the team’s practice facility and not to be asked about the incident, his father, Nelson, confirmed to the Pioneer Press that the 2-year-old victim was his grandson.
Peterson, last season’s NFL MVP, was absent from practice Thursday and presumed to be in Sioux Falls, S.D., reportedly checking in on his son, who was the victim of alleged abuse, according to South Dakota police department spokesman Sam Clemens.
Said Peterson on Friday, who insists he will play Sunday vs. the Carolina Panthers: “Football is something I always fall back on. It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life is 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, helps me play this game to a different level and I’m able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport.”
“Adrian is back with us now, had a difficult day yesterday because of a personal matter that he’s dealing with. He has our prayers and support from this football team, from this organization as he’s dealing with a personal matter,” head coach Leslie Frazier said Friday. “We’ll see how things go with him. We expect him to play, but this is a very personal situation that he’s dealing with. We’ll talk to him in the next 24 hours.”
Running back Toby Gerhart said Peterson’s teammates wanted to make sure he knew they were there for his support.
Officers responded to call at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday of a child that was choking. Officers found the boy was unresponsive and he was taken to a hospital for treatment and medical examiners found the boy’s injuries to be consistent with abuse. He is in critical condition with head injuries.
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, was arrested Thursday night and charged with aggravated battery of an infant and domestic assault, Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said in a briefing Friday. Patterson is reportedly dating the mother of Peterson’s reported son. Wollman said the mother was outside of the apartment at the time of the incident.
Charges for the aggravated battery include up to 25 years in a state prison or $50,000 fine. Domestic assault would include 15 years in prison or $30,000 fine. The charges would run consecutively.
Wollman said his office filed to revoke two suspended sentences for Patterson, including domestic assault and violation of a domestic abuse bond.