The 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson died Friday in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital from injuries he suffered in an assault Wednesday afternoon, Sioux Falls police announced.
The child, whose name is being withheld, allegedly was beaten by a man his mother had just begun a relationship with, police said. Peterson had left the Vikings on Thursday and returned to the team from South Dakota on Friday. He sent a series of touching tweets late Friday afternoon:
Peterson had gone to Sioux Falls on Thursday, but rejoined the team Friday. Hours before the child died, he spoke with the media, asking for privacy, saying he was “stayin’ prayed up” and announcing that he planned to play Sunday because the sport had always been a refuge for him in tough times. He left the facility Friday evening and it was unclear whether he might change his mind about playing.
“I really appreciate all the support that I’ve been receiving from fans, the Vikings organization,” he said early in the afternoon. “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.”
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, was arrested Friday and is being held on an initial charge of aggravated assault and aggravated assault on an infant. Patterson’s bond was set at $750,000 cash before the child died.
The death of the NFL MVP’s son prompted reaction across the sports world.