2-year-old son of Vikings' Peterson dies

Sioux Falls, SD (SportsNetwork.com) - The 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has died from injuries sustained in an alleged assault by the boyfriend of the boy's mother.

The Sioux Falls Police Department said a 2-year-old boy died Friday due to injuries sustained in an assault on Wednesday, but was withholding the name of the child until next week.

Peterson's father, Nelson Peterson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press earlier Friday the boy was his grandson and asked for prayers and respect for the family "as we deal with this tragic situation."

Before police said the boy died, Adrian Peterson met with media at the Vikings' practice facility and said he would be playing in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers "without a doubt." He declined any further comment about the situation, however.

"I really appreciate all the support that I've been receiving from fans, the Vikings organization," Peterson said. "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. Thanks."

Peterson missed practice Thursday for personal reasons, and TMZ first reported Friday that the running back's son was in critical condition at a South Dakota hospital after allegedly being beaten by a man who is dating the mother of the child.

Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault, according to court documents. After the boy died, police said the Lincoln County States Attorney would consider additional charges.

Patterson has made his first court appearance and was being held on $750,000 cash bond, according to police.

Police said they were called Wednesday to Patterson's apartment on South Connie Avenue and found the 2-year-old boy unresponsive. The boy was under the care of Patterson and no one else was home at the time of the incident, police said.

The boy was rushed to an area hospital, where it was determined during treatment he had sustained injuries considered to be consistent with abuse, leading to Patterson's arrest. Police identified Patterson as the boyfriend of the boy's mother.

According to court documents, Patterson is charged with "recklessly caus(ing) serious bodily injury to an infant, less than three years old, by causing any intracranial or intraocular bleeding, or swelling of or damage to the brain, caused by blows, shaking, or causing the infant's head to impact with an object or surface."

According to USA Today, the Lincoln County prosecutor's office filed motions to order Patterson to serve two yearlong sentences suspended in two previous domestic cases for simple assault and violating an order to stay away from the victim of the assault. The motions were to be heard later this month.

On Twitter, Peterson thanked "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," Peterson wrote. "God bless everyone and thank u so much."

Peterson was last season's NFL MVP after rushing for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has rushed for 421 yards and five touchdowns in four games for the Vikings this season.