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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says playing against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon helps him deal with the tragic death of his son earlier in the week.
Adrian Peterson arrived at the Metrodome Sunday morning in a gray suit flanked by two security guards, giving a quick wave to Vikings fans acknowledging him as he walked toward the players entrance.
Just two days after his 2-year-old son died in a South Dakota hospital following an alleged beating at the hands of the mother’s boyfriend, Peterson mustered up the focus to play in the Vikings game against the Carolina Panthers, just as he said Friday he planned to do because football “gets me through the tough times.”
Insider the Metrodome, Fans held signs that read “Stay Strong 28” and “Prayers for Adrian,” and several teammates offered hugs and well wishes before the game for their MVP.
The reigning NFL MVP had a low-key afternoon after a whirlwind week. He had season-lows in carries (10) and overall touches (13.) He ran for 62 yards and caught three passes for 21 yards as the Vikings were blown out by the Panthers, 35-10. Peterson also fumbled on a run inside the red zone late in the second quarter, but the Vikings recovered.
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Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton greets Adrian Peterson after the Vikings’ loss.
After the game, Peterson reiterated that he never considered sitting out Sunday.
“I never thought about not playing,” he said, according to the Pioneer Press. “It was all about praying to God for the strength to get through and help my teammates.”
Panthers safety Mike Mitchell talked to Peterson during the game and mentioned the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 about God providing hope for the future.
Joseph Patterson is accused of beating and killing Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son.
“I told him that to keep that in his heart as he continues to take this challenge going forward,” Mitchell told The AP.
Joseph Robert Patterson, the 27-year-old boyfriend of the child’s mother, was arrested and charged with felony counts of aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault, and Lincoln County, S.D., State’s Attorney Thomas Wollman told the Daily News Friday that in the wake of the child’s death, his office would be “looking at additional charges.”
On the death of his son, Peterson said, according to The Associated Press, “It’s tough. It’s a crazy situation. Anytime you lose a child, no matter the circumstances, it hurts. I can’t describe it. But I’ve got a good supporting cast surrounding me.”
Vikings fans hold a sign supporting Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph said Peterson addressed his teammates before the game. According to Rudolph, Peterson said, “I’m going to give it my all, and I expect you all to do the same.”
The 28-year-old running back declined to get into details regarding the relationship he had with his son.
“We just got blown out, so let’s focus on football and what the Minnesota Vikings can do to get better,” he said, according to USA Today.
Tragedy has been too familiar to Peterson throughout his entire life. His older brother Brian died in a bicycle accident after he was struck by a drunk driver when Peterson was 7. At 13, his dad Nelson was sent to prison for money-laundering from drug profits and spent eight years there. In 2007, the night before the NFL Combine, Peterson’s half-brother Chris Paris was shot and killed in Houston, but Peterson still participated in the combine.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier felt Peterson had handled his latest ordeal “as well as you can.
“It’s a difficult, difficult situation,” he said. “There are a lot of people trying to support him within the organization, his teammates as well, but I think for the most part he’s handled it well. It’s tough, really tough.”