“Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson walks off the field following their NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday,Sept. 29, 2013. The Vikings defeated the Steelers 34-27. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)”
After spending the last two days in critical condition at a South Dakota hospital, the 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has died. According to TMZ reports, the young boy suffered a severe beating at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, identified as Joseph Patterson. The 27-year-old was arrested and charged with aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant earlier today. However, in response to the boy’s recent death, prosecutors are considering filing additional charges against Patterson.
Law enforcement officials told reporters that the incident took place Wednesday evening and the suspect was the only person home with the young boy. Upon arrival at 5:46 p.m., emergency responders found the toddler unresponsive with severe head injuries. The hospital later confirmed that those injuries were consistent with abuse.
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Sources say Patterson, whose relationship with the child’s mother was “fairly new,” has a history of domestic violence. When Adrian Peterson was 7, he saw his older brother die in a bike accident when he was hit by a drunken driver. For Peterson’s teenage years, his father was in prison. He grew up poor in east Texas. Shortly before the Minnesota Vikings drafted him in 2007, a half-brother was shot and killed. Long before Peterson began running through the NFL record book, he learned to turn tragedy into fuel for an exceptional career. Football has always been his escape, and now he’s dealing with more off-the-field strife.
“Patterson has a son with another Sioux Falls woman, court records show. Records also show that the mother of his child had asked for protection orders twice, claiming he’d choked and punched her, threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her will,” ArgusLeader.com reports. “In 2012, Patterson was charged with simple assault against the mother, however, and was ordered to undergo family violence training and to stay away from her until completing it.”
Despite Peterson missed practice Thursday to be in Sioux Falls, S.D., where the boy lived with his mother and Patterson. He returned to the Vikings on Friday. Peterson said he still plans to play in Sunday’s game against Carolina. A Lincoln County judge set the suspect’s bond at $750,000 in cash.
“I really appreciate all the support that I’ve been receiving from fans, the Vikings organisation,” the running back said, who missed Thursday’s practice to check on his son. “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.” “I will be playing Sunday, without a doubt,” he added. ”All I can say is, we are asking for prayers and for respect for our family as we deal with this tragic situation.”
Twitter has been filled with public condolences for Peterson and his loved ones. From LeBron James to Barry Sanders to Josh Groban, his peers, opponents and admirers expressed their sadness and support.