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Grieving Peterson plays in Vikings defeat

Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against Melvin White of the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter of the game on October 13, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against Melvin White of the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter of the game on October 13, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

The NFL's Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson went back to work Sunday, two days after the death of his toddler son, but couldn't lift the Minnesota Vikings against Carolina.

Peterson received a warm welcome from fans, but the Vikings trailed throughout in falling 35-10 to the Panthers.

Peterson had been in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Thursday to see his two-year-old son, who died in hospital on Friday of injuries allegedly caused by abuse by a man who was dating the child's mother.

Prior to the boy's death, Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, had been arrested on two counts of aggravated domestic assault and aggravated battery of an infant, court documents showed.

Police said Patterson could face other charges next week in the wake of the child's death.

Peterson texted a statement to Fox Sports explaining his decision to play.

"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," Peterson said, a reference to the death of his half brother Chris Paris.

Paris, was killed in Houston the night before the NFL’s 2007 scouting combine, where Peterson and the rest of the draft prospects worked out for all 32 teams.

When he was seven, Peterson saw an older brother killed in a bike accident in which he was struck by a drunk driver.

Peterson said Friday that the tragedy in his life had spurred him to achieve on the field.

"You may ask why," Peterson, who has another son and a daughter, said in his text to Fox. "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."

Peterson rushed for 62 yards Sunday on 10 carries and caught three passes for 21 yards.

His longest run of the game, a 31-yard spurt, came in the third quarter, but the Vikings ended that series by turning the ball over on downs.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns, while scoring another on the ground.

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