For most of 2012, delivering an extraordinary recovery from ACL surgery, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson aimed to deliver a lesson that, in his words, “all things can be accomplished when you have faith and belief.”
But even after rushing for 2,097 yards and falling 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s 28-year-old single-season rushing record, Peterson also learned he’ll never be able to satisfy everybody.
He laughed Monday morning, recounting all the times last week he had to discuss his disappointment in failing to record just 9 more yard during the regular season, as if so many people had forgotten that he had just delivered the second most prolific rushing season in history.
“It just shows me how people aren’t pleased,” Peterson said. “Me personally, I don’t try to please people. But that is a good example. A lot of people making comments, ‘Oh, you’re nine yards short.’ Making signs. It was just ridiculous. But for me just living in the moment and just enjoying the experience, to get that record would have been a bonus.”
Peterson sincerely uses his football career as a vehicle to inspire, to change people’s mindsets on what can be accomplished through hard work and belief. More than ever, his following is growing.
“I feel that a lot of the people that doubted me became believers,” Peterson said, “and grew in faith because of everybody looking at this and saying, ‘Oh, it’s a miracle.’ … The rewards and accomplishments are good, but being able to change someone’s mindset, whether it’s a little kid or grown-ups and make them believe differently and look at it in a different light, that’s the ultimate goal. That’s been done. So, I’m pleased.”
Even Jared Allen, who’s headed to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time later this month, asserted Monday that Peterson’s relentless drive and positive energy had opened up the Vikings’ imagination on what they can accomplish.
“Maybe I can get 2,000 sacks,” Allen said.
When told of Allen’s new goal, Peterson smiled.
“Hey that’s what I’m talking about,” Peterson said. “He wasn’t talking about 2,000 sacks last year or the year before.”
Pro Bowl bound
Peterson is headed back to the Pro Bowl this month for the fifth time in six seasons. But unlike most of the participants who will inevitably dial back their intensity for the all-star exhibition, Peterson is vowing to play like he always plays.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll run for 400 yards in the Pro Bowl?
“It is hard for me to play down,” Peterson said, “because when you play down, you put yourself in jeopardy of getting hurt going through the motions. So I won’t be playing down. I’m going to play hard.”
Peterson said the Pro Bowl competition always picks up late in the third quarter and into the fourth with the winners receiving a monetary award of approximately $50,000 per player.
Said Peterson: “Guys look at that and say, ‘We get this win, we get 50 more racks so we can give it to our mom, our dad, our family, or go buy a car.’ There’s a lot you can do with 50 [grand].”
Speaking of what you can do with some extra spending cash, Peterson was asked if he’s still searching for gifts to reward his offensive line for their contributions to his incredible season. Last month, Texans running back Arian Foster rewarded his linemen with Segways.
“I was thinking about maybe four wheelers,” Peterson said. “Or snowmobiles would be pretty cool up here. So I’m kind of weighing my options. With snowmobiles, you only can ride it when the snow is here. Four wheelers you can use on dry land or the snow too. So I’m trying to choose in between which direction I’m going to go.”