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Man accused in 2013 death of Adrian Peterson’s son free on bail

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(CNN) — Beleaguered by felony child abuse charges over the spanking of his toddler son, NFL star Adrian Peterson may now be facing anguish from a past tragedy.

The man charged with second-degree murder in the death last year of another one of Peterson’s children is now free on bail.

Joseph Robert Patterson, who allegedly mortally assaulted the 2-year-old son of the Minnesota Vikings running back in South Dakota, posted a $2 million bond on Friday, said Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead.

The victim lived with his mother, who was Patterson’s girlfriend.

The man is also accused of recklessly causing “serious bodily injury to the child,” according to the indictment. And he faces charges of first-degree manslaughter, aggravated battery of an infant and abuse or cruelty to a minor.

Patterson has said that the child’s death was an accident, that he choked to death on food.

Authorities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, found the child unresponsive back then, and later determined he’d suffered injuries to his head consistent with abuse.

Soon after that son’s death, Viking Peterson returned to the field, telling a sports reporter that it was God’s will that he should resume playing.

Current abuse scandal

Texas authorities have accused Peterson of injury to a child over the spanking of the other son. The crime is punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $1,000 fine.

Photos obtained by TMZ allegedly show Peterson’s son’s leg covered in marks that could have come from a switch, or thin tree branch. Some of the marks in the photo appeared to have broken the skin.

Authorities haven’t divulged the details of what led to the charge. But Peterson’s lawyer said the “charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son,” explaining that his client did so while doling out discipline much like what “he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas.”

The NFL has sidelined Peterson, who is on leave with pay, while he handles the legal challenge.

Peterson has defended himself, saying he is “not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser.”

Star athlete

Through the troubles in his personal life, Peterson has shined on the field.

In his first pro season in 2007, he set the NFL record for yards rushed in a single game — 296, against San Diego, according to the Vikings’ website.

In 2008, he led the league in rushing yards and came in second in 2012. That year, he became the third Viking to receive the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award.

CNN’s Joe Sutton and Greg Botelho contributed to this report