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Before learning of his son’s death, Peterson said that he planned to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Mall of America Field.
“Football is something I will always fall back on,” he said. “It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that’s what I need in my life, guys supporting me and just being able to go out and play this game I love.
“Things that I go through, I’ve said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level,” Peterson said. “I’m able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so that’s what I plan on doing.”
Peterson has dealt with tragedy among family members from an early age. At age 7, he witnessed the death of his older brother, who was struck and killed by a drunken driver while riding his bike.
When Peterson was a teenager, his father was sentenced to 10 years in prison for laundering drug money. And Peterson’s stepbrother was shot and killed in Houston the night before Peterson worked out at the NFL Combine the year he was drafted by the Vikings.
“One thing I always bounce back to is that the good Lord never gives you more than you can bear, than you can handle,” Peterson said Friday. “So I’m built tough.”
His coaches and teammates tried to provide support Friday.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson had a “difficult day,” and he left open the possibility that the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player won’t play Sunday.
“He has our prayers and support from this football team, from this organization, as he’s dealing with a personal matter,” Frazier said. “We’ll see how things go with him. We expect him to play, but this is a very personal situation that he’s dealing with. We’ll talk to him in the next 24 hours.”
Fellow running back Toby Gerhart said Peterson’s teammates have reached out to him in different ways.
“We consider each other family and brothers,” Gerhart said. “When something like this happens, it’s truly a testament of being a teammate and how tight this family is. It’s a tough situation.
“We’re there for him with whatever he needs and try and help his morale and be there for him,” Gerhart said.