Adrian Peterson to play Sunday, asked for privacy in 'private matter'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said Friday he will play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday following tragic news that his two-year old son is in critical condition in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital.
"I'm going to start off by saying I really appreciate all the support I've been receiving from the fans and Vikings organization," Peterson said. "This is a private matter, I ask y'all to please respect my privacy and not ask at all about the situation at hand."
"I plan on playing Sunday, I will be playing on Sunday, let me correct that."
Peterson missed Thursday's practice to attend to his son, who allegedly was harmed by man taking care of the boy. The Argus Leader on Thursday reported that Joseph Patterson had been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated assault on an infant.
The county prosecutor involved spoke Friday morning and declined to identify who the child's father was, but police said Patterson is not the dad. As of Friday morning, the child was in critical condition with injuries to his head.
Peterson returned to practice on Friday, but declined to make public any information on the matter.
"Adrian [Peterson] is back with us now. Had a difficult day yesterday because of a personal matter he was dealing with. He has our prayers and support from our football team and our organization," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "We expect him to play, but this is a very personal situation he's dealing with. We'll talk to him more in the next 24 hours."
Frazier said Peterson shouldn't have to return to Sioux Falls before Sunday's game.
"Not that I'm aware of," Frazier said.
In the locker room, it appeared many teammates didn't know of the exact situation, but all offered their thoughts and prayers to Peterson.
"I talked to the team a little bit yesterday about where things were," Frazier said. "Did not have Adrian talk to the team today."
Playing on Sunday will help him through any grieving process, Peterson said.
"Football is something I'll always fall back on, it gets me through tough times. Being around the guys in here, that's what I need in my life, guys supporting me," Peterson said. "I'm able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, that's what I plan on doing."