EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — A son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson died Friday 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, Saturday he confirmed on Twitter the boy was his son when he tweeted “We are currently not posting photos of my son who passed away.”
The boy had been in critical condition but the Sioux Falls Police Department issued a news release Friday afternoon confirming he had died.
Officers responded to a 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 had been listed in critical condition with
head injuries, but the release from the police stated the boy “died from injuries sustained during the aggravated assault.”
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
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
The Lincoln County State’s
Attorney’s Office is now considering additional charges following the
boy’s death. Patterson made his first court appearance earlier Friday
and is being held on a $750,000 cash bond.
After the news of the boy’s death, Peterson sent out three Tweets, reading in whole: “Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support. The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. God Bless everyone and thank u so much.”
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 earlier 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.
“We consider each other family and brothers. It’s clichéd and everybody says, we’ve got each other’s back when we go on a football field, but when something like this happens, it’s truly a testament of being a teammate and how tight this family is,” Gerhart said. “It’s a tough situation. We all reached out to him yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. We’re there for him with whatever he needs and try and help his morale and be there for him.”