(Reuters) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson rejoined his team for practice on Thursday, saying he was “standing strong” a day after attending his two-year-old son’s funeral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Peterson’s son died last week in Sioux Falls after suffering head injuries following what local police described as an apparent assault in a severe case of child abuse.
A 27-year-old man, allegedly a friend of the boy’s mother, has been charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and I can speak on it,” Peterson told reporters on Thursday, having seen his son for the first time at the funeral after only learning the child was his two months ago.
“I was planning on seeing him and I had talked with his mom and had gotten some things together as far as financially helping her. Unfortunately, this situation took place and it’s devastating.
“It’s tough, but I’m able to deal with that. I got a good supporting cast around me. I’m standing strong, I am.”
Peterson, the NFL’s reigning most valuable player and a five-time Pro Bowler, was limited in practice on Thursday because of a hamstring injury but hopes to play against the New York Giants on Monday.
“I’ve just been trying to wrap my head around things and try to stay focused and play ball as well,” said the 28-year-old running back, who played in Sunday’s 35-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
“Things have been tough, but I can handle a lot. Like I said, I’m built for anything that comes my way. This right here will pass.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Julian Linden