Minnesota running back and reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson missed practice on Thursday for personal reasons.
Friday morning, it was revealed that his 2-year-old son was in critical condition and 27-year-old Joseph Robert Patterson had been arrested and charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault, according to Sioux Falls, S.D., police.
Police said Friday evening the child died.
The Panthers play the Vikings on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family and hopefully things work out.
“This is a very, very young life and a personal family situation and again, our thoughts and prayers go out to him.”
Peterson was seen in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Thursday, and late Thursday evening news broke that he was there attending a personal matter regarding a young family member, according to the Argus (S.D) Leader.
Peterson returned to practice Friday and said that he still expects to play Sunday against Carolina.
“I’m able to release a lot of stress through sports,” Peterson said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Rivera said the Panthers are preparing to play the Vikings with Peterson.
“Without a doubt. You have to,” Rivera said. “I don’t want to sound callous but you have to. It’s the unfortunate nature of the game.”
Three doubtful: Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (hamstring), strong safety Robert Lester (hamstring) and running back Kenjon Barner (foot) are doubtful for Carolina’s game Sunday.
Lester, the team’s starting strong safety the past two games, sat out his third consecutive practice with the hamstring. Rivera indicated Lester would be a game-day decision, and if he’s healthy, he’ll start in his third NFL game.
If not, former Pro Bowl safety Quintin Mikell will get the nod. Mikell injured his foot in Week 2 at Buffalo but returned to practice this week. He’s listed as probable.
“I really like what I saw from Quintin those first two games,” Rivera said. “He’s been involved, he’s kept himself mentally fit, his conditioning he’s worked on a lot. And the other thing is the situation, depending on the circumstances, (reserve safety) Colin Jones has to be ready to play just in case.”
Edwards has battled the hamstring injury since preseason, and Rivera said the veteran tackle did work on the sideline Friday. Barner sprained his foot in the preseason, and despite playing in his first NFL last week, he suffered a setback this week.
“There’s a little bit of frustration,” Rivera said. “He had a great week of practice last week, did some nice things but then he complained the other day about it and this morning he got up and was very sore and (head trainer Ryan Vermillion) was a little concerned so we had him sit out today and get treatment.”
Colin Cole will likely get the start in front of Edwards. Greg Olsen (foot) is probable, and Rivera said taking a day off earlier in the week and fewer reps at practice should have him ready for Sunday.
Coaching bond: Rivera has a long history with the man who will be across the field from him on Sunday.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Rivera were teammates on the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Chicago Bears team. Frazier was a cornerback on the team and Rivera was an outside linebacker.
The two would cross paths again in Philadelphia from 1999-2002 where Rivera was the linebackers coach and Frazier was the defensive backs coach.
“We talk almost once a week. We probably won’t talk this week on the phone,” Frazier joked on a Wednesday teleconference. “Our friendship goes way, way back to our playing days being teammates. We stay in touch, we talk all the time, our wives are friends and he’s a good friend.”
Said Rivera: “We talk about most things and he’s also one of the few guys, in terms of a spiritual confidant, that I have. We get together and have our own fellowship.”
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9
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