Adrian Peterson's son is reportedly in critical condition at a South Dakota hospital. The 2-year-old child was allegedly attacked by Joseph Patterson, the boyfriend of the child's mother.
UPDATE: Per Ben Goessling of ESPN, Sioux Falls Police on Friday would not confirm the identity of the young boy. But they did say that Patterson is not the boy's father.
UPDATE 3: Per City Pages, the child is not expected to survive. The same website also reported that Adrian Peterson always knew he may have been the father of the kid, but he confirmed this information relatively recently.
UPDATE 4: According to police, Adrian Peterson's son has now died.
According to TMZ, emergency responders came to the child's house on Wednesday and found the boy unresponsive. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors determined he had been abused. Patterson has since been charged with aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant.
The Minnesota Vikings running back had missed practice on Thursday for personal reasons. He was spotted in Sioux Falls, S.D., and a reporter for Argus Leader claimed he was "dealing with a medical issue involving [a] young family member that likely will be a police matter." TMZ's article seems to corroborate this report.
TMZ reported that the child is dealing with severe head injuries. But the exact nature of these injuries is still unclear.
Adrian Peterson is one of the top running backs in the National Football League. He has averaged 5.0 yards per carry in his six-plus-year career, with 81 touchdowns and more than 9,200 yards. He suffered a serious knee injury late in the 2011 season, only to come back better than ever in 2012. He played all 16 games, winning the NFL's Most Valuable Player award while leading his Vikings to the playoffs. He also came just nine yards shy of breaking the all-time single-season rushing record held by Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson.
Sadly, this is not the first tragedy Adrian Peterson has faced in his life. Per USA Today, Peterson lost his older brother when the running back was just 7 years old. 9-year-old Brian was riding his bicycle when he was killed by a drunk driver. Six years later, Adrian Peterson's father was sent to prison for 10 years after laundering drug money. Then, the night before a college-aged Peterson worked out for NFL teams at the annual scouting combine, his 19-year-old half-brother, Chris Paris, was killed in a shooting.
"Unfortunately, when tragedy strikes, the world doesn't stop," then-Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage said at the time. "Adrian was able to go out and perform despite his loss."
Still, a critical injury to a child is nearly unfathomable. We wish Adrian Peterson and his family the best in this difficult time.