Adrian Peterson's son has died following an assault, according to reports. Sioux Falls, S.D., police have confirmed that the 2-year-old child of the NFL star.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the young boy was beaten by the boyfriend of his mother in South Dakota, suffering severe head injuries.
Earlier Friday, he was listed in critical condition.
Per the family's request, the state is holding the child's name, but the athlete's father, Nelson Peterson, confirmed he was Adrian Peterson's son.
"All I can say is, we are asking for prayers and respect for our family as we deal with this tragic situation," Nelson Peterson told a local newspaper.
How and why did this tragedy occur? That is very much unclear at this time, but authorities believe strongly that the attack on the boy was deliberate.
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery on an infant. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
"Patterson was dating the child's mother and was the only one home with the boy Wednesday when the abuse allegedly took place.
"Patterson called 911 around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday to report the boy was choking at their Platinum Valley apartment."
"But Lt. Blaine Larsen of the Sioux Falls Police Department said it became clear at the hospital that the boy's injuries were not accidental."
"An examination led doctors to suspect that the boy's injuries were 'consistent with abuse and not accidental.'"
"The assault on an infant charge involves blows, shaking or causing a child's head to sustain impact with an object in a manner that causes bleeding or swelling on the brain."
The boy was confirmed dead Friday afternoon.
Adrian Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, returned to Vikings headquarters Friday. The all-world running back said he would be on the field Sunday.
"I will be playing Sunday, without a doubt," Peterson told the media today. "I really appreciate all the support that I've been receiving from fans and the Vikings.
He added that "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."
Peterson also tweeted two hours ago: "The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players."