Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson is in mourning following the death of his two-year-old son, from injuries allegedly sustained during an aggravated assault according to reports in America.
Peterson stole the headlines in London a fortnight ago when his two touchdowns at Wembley gave the Vikings their first victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the news has shocked the entire NFL family.
Peterson’s son, who has not been named, was taken to hospital with severe head injuries following the alleged attack on Wednesday, with the youngster succumbing to his injuries on Friday.
Joseph Patterson, 27, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery and appeared in court on Friday, but he could yet face further additional charges over the death.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Peterson wanted to thanks his friends and fans for their support during what has been a terrible tragedy for the 28-year-old.
He said: "Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support.
"The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players.
"God Bless everyone and thank u so much."
Peterson took part in the Vikings’ training session on Friday, and he is expected to take part in their NFL game on Sunday when they take on the Carolina Panthers. Leading basketball star LeBron James was one of many who offered their support for Peterson at this difficult time.
"My deepest condolences goes out to Adrian Peterson and his family! Sending prayers up for you homie! Nothing I can say can help u through.this but know I support u man!” James wrote on his Twitter account.
"Having boys of my own, it hurts me to my heart and stomach for you!
"From my family we send our prayers up to your son and family! Sick for my friend."
Peterson is a shoe-in for the NFL Hall of Fame once he retires, and he is currently second in this season’s rushing yards with 421 yards, while he leads the league in touchdowns with five, including the two at the showcase game at Wembley.