We here at Access Vikings have made a vow to not become overly obsessed with Adrian Peterson’s yardage goals. Back in January, when Peterson was cleaning out his Winter Park locker after the 2012 season finished, he made his early declaration to chase the 2,500-yard mark in 2013, hoping to smash the single-season NFL rushing record.
We documented that then, have analyzed it since. And at some point in the past four months, everyone who covers football has discussed Peterson’s proposed pursuit of 2,500 yards.
But that’s it. We’re going no further with the discussion. And so we’re not touching Peterson’s pursuit of 3,000 yards – a milestone that SiriusXM NFL Radio hosts Bruce Murray and Amani Toomer jokingly suggested Thursday when interviewing Peterson.
The quick exchange:
Murray: “We were wondering why stop at 2,500 yards? Why not 3,000, Adrian?”
Peterson: (laughs) “Why not 3,000, huh? I like that. Now that you say that, that sounds pretty good. But, you know, even when I said 2,500, trust me, I’m shooting to get more. I was trying to put it at something right now that I can look at and that seems more realistic to me. But in my head I’m still telling myself, ‘Hey, you can surpass 2,500 as well.’ But I’m just setting that bar right there for now and then, you know, here in the future I can go ahead and put up thirty-five [hundred], how ‘bout that?”
Good answer. Worth a chuckle. Get it out of your system. But please don't take the preposterous 3,000-yard goal seriously. In fact, we’re proposing a penalty to anyone in the media who takes that in-jest back-and-forth and sensationalizes it into some out-of-context headline and blog post about Peterson's aspirations.
Besides, in the interview with Murray and Toomer, Peterson had far more ear-catching comments. Specifically, when asked about the Vikings’ release of punter Chris Kluwe earlier this month, Peterson didn’t steer around the obligatory request for comment on Kluwe’s activism in favor of gay rights and marriage equality.
Said the reigning league MVP: “To each his own. I’m not with it. But I have relatives that are gay. I’m not biased towards them. I still treat them the same. I love them. But again, I’m not with that. That’s not something I believe in. But to each his own.
“I’m sure the Vikings organization did not release him based on that. They know Kluwe. They’ve been knowing him for a long time. And they know he’s outspoken. But it hurt me to see him leave. He was a good friend of mine and a really cool guy, man. Probably one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around, man. Different.”
Is it outrageous for Peterson to speak candidly on the gay marriage topic? No. Is it a bit dangerous, potentially stirring up an unwanted storm? Absolutely.
When the league MVP takes a controversial stance on a hot-button issue (especially in this day-and-age), we have to wonder what the reaction will be and how quickly his comments will spread.
We’d again encourage you to listen to Peterson’s entire SiriusXM NFL Radio interview. But don't be surprised if his seemingly small comment becomes a big deal pretty quickly.
The topic of acceptance and tolerance of gay athletes has been on the front burner recently, particularly after NBA big man Jason Collins came out last month, becoming the first pro athlete in any of the four major sports to reveal his homosexuality while still active.
Collins' announcement generated an impressive wave of support. But the question still looms as to just how ready a men's professional sports locker room is for an openly gay player. If and when the first NFL player follows Collins' lead and reveals his homosexuality, how will that be accepted?
Peterson's remarks hint at some of the hurdles that remain.
Yes, Peterson remains one of the NFL's true good guys, a likeable superstar, who was also the Vikings Community Man of the Year in 2012. He is at once down to earth and giving of his time. And in his interview with Murray and Toomer, he made clear his intentions to deliver financial aid and a personal helping hand to the tornado ravaged parts of Oklahoma, where he went to college.
And no, Peterson's answer to the Kluwe question doesn't register as malicious or overtly intolerant. But it will almost certainly become a source of debate.
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