A 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson died at a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital after being severely beaten by the mother’s boyfriend, according to police.
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, is charged with separate counts of aggravated assault and aggravated assault on an infant after harming the boy while he was in his care.
Peterson left the Vikings facility on Thursday, missing practice to attend to what the team called a personal matter. He was back with the team Friday morning.
“I really appreciate all the support that I've been receiving from fans, the Vikings organization,” Peterson told reporters. “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.”
Sioux Falls police declined to confirm that the child was the running back’s son, but Peterson’s father, Nelson Peterson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Friday morning that one of Peterson’s sons was in critical condition in a hospital in South Dakota.
On Wednesday morning, Patterson called 911 to report that a child was choking in his apartment. The child’s mother, who also lives in the Platinum Valley Apartment Complex, had left the toddler in Patterson’s care.
At the hospital, according to Sioux Falls Police Department Lt. Blaine Larsen, officials determind that the child’s injuries were not accidental.
The boy’s mother declined to comment Friday morning when reached by Sioux Falls newspaper, The Argus Leader.
Patterson has domestic violence in his past, including a number of protection orders requested against him from previous relationships.
Peterson ranks second in the NFL with 421 rushing yards and has scored five touchdowns. The Vikings host Carolina on Sunday.