• 50°

MINNEAPOLIS — 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.
One of Peterson’s sons, a victim of alleged child abuse, died Friday of severe head injuries suffered in the attack. The man charged in the case, Joseph Patterson, was home alone with the 2-year-old boy Wednesday and called 911 to report he was choking, according to police. Patterson was the boyfriend of the child’s mother.
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.
“Things that I go through, I’ve said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level,” he said after practice, about an hour after the child’s death. “I’m able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
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.
“Praying for you and your family. May God give you the strength,” tweeted New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, whose team plays the Vikings on Oct. 21.
The Vikings play Carolina on Sunday, and Peterson promised to participate.
“I’ll be ready to roll, focused,” he said.
That’s no surprise to anyone who’s known him.
“The death of his brother at that young age drove him to want to be the very best that he could be,” said Steve Eudey, who was Peterson’s youth football coach and a mentor to him growing up. “Because in his opinion, Brian was always better than he was and he felt he had to live up to those expectations.”
Peterson’s relationship with the dead son was not known publicly, but the boy did not carry Peterson’s name. Peterson has another son, Adrian Jr., who lives with him, he confirmed on Twitter on Saturday in attempt to clarify his family situation.
“He’s a wonderful human being,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who coached Peterson in college. “He’s a very faithful, strong, Christian guy that we all dearly, we all love him. We’re all there for him. Incredibly tragic event. He’s a great a kid, a great man, a great kid when I had him.”
Adrian Peterson Jr. showed up at training camp this year and posed for pictures after one practice with his dad. Peterson also has a daughter; he tweeted last month about how she teased him about Minnesota’s loss that afternoon to Cleveland.
“So my daughter is laying here under me and just out the blue she says … I can’t believe you lost to the Browns Daddy!” Peterson posted Sept. 22.
Peterson’s half brother, Chris Paris, was killed in Houston the night before the NFL’s scouting combine, where Peterson and the rest of the draft prospects worked out for all 32 teams. After wondering whether he could find the strength to participate, he remembered Paris’s recent encouragement to him to represent his hometown of Palestine, Texas, well with a strong showing there in Indianapolis.
That day was hard, but growing up might’ve been ever harder.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18