The stout Carolina defense made things tough for Peterson. He was able to rip off one run of 31 yards, but was bottled up for the rest of the afternoon and was held to his lowest yardage output since Week 2 last season.
Peterson declined to discuss the relationship he had with the boy, who lived with his mother in Sioux Falls. The mother’s boyfriend, Joseph Patterson, is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
“Can we focus on football? I’m not really trying to get into details on that,” Peterson said. “We just got blown out by (25) points. So let’s focus on football and what the Minnesota Vikings can do to get better.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he thought his star running back handled himself well during the trying circumstances.
“It’s a difficult, difficult situation and there are a lot of people trying to support him within in the organization, his teammates as well,” Frazier said.
Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, who had two interceptions and a sack, sought out Peterson during the game to offer some words of encouragement. Mitchell said he mentioned to the deeply religious Peterson the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 about God providing hope for the future.
“I told him that to keep that in his heart as he continues to take this challenge going forward,” Mitchell said.
Peterson said he is leaning on his teammates and family to help him through, and he will continue to look to the football field as a shelter, as he has throughout his life during the toughest of times.
And the Vikings will have to lean on Peterson if they hope to get things turned around before it’s too late.
“In life situations, and in football, you’ve got to continue to believe,” Peterson said. “We’ve got to get everyone with that same mindset, to believe no matter what the circumstances”