Peterson, 28, traveled to South Dakota on Thursday to see his son and upon returning to the Vikings on Friday informed reporters that he would be playing on Sunday. Via a text message, Peterson explained to Fox Sports' Laura Okmin why he decided not to sit out today's game:
"My brother passed the night before the combine and I decided to go through with it. The same reason why I will play this week. You may ask why? God wants good to come from it ... We mourn and grieve but heaven had the baddest welcoming party for my son. That knowledge gives me peace. I'm still hurt and feel the pain of life, but I'm able to function because of the peace and joy of knowing my loved ones are in a much better place."
The combine Peterson refers to is the 2007 NFL combine, the night before which his half-brother was shot and killed. Yahoo Sports' Eric Adelson notes that Peterson stayed up through that night praying and appeared at the next day's combine anyway. He then went on to be drafted by the Vikings as the seventh overall pick.
Peterson had a good showing against the Panthers on Sunday but the Vikings ultimately lost, 35-10. After the game, he told reporters that he never considered not playing.
"It was all about going out there and praying that I have the strength to get through," he said. "That was my focus."
27-year-old Joseph Patterson, who had been taking care of Peterson's son, has been arrested in connection with the death of the boy that was caused by injuries consistent with abuse. Patterson has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery of an infant.