Adrian Peterson seems like one of those athletes who is virtually unflappable when it comes to letting something bug him for very long. On the field he often has a smile on his face; even when he makes a mistake or the Vikings mess up, he always appears to be one to turn the page quickly.
Maybe we don't know him well enough to make that judgment. It's just our perception. And as such, it was surprising to see his frustration boil over Sunday in various mediums as it pertained to both the officiating and the fan behavior in Baltimore.
We happened to be listening to his rawest emotions during KFAN's postgame show, when he ripped officials and Baltimore fans pretty good. By the time reporters caught up with him postgame, the message hadn't changed much.
“Some of the calls that were made. To me, it was kind of one of those games where it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that was called,'" Peterson said. “Then, to top it off, they got the worst fans in the NFL throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter like kids. It was a bad feeling, a bad experience.”
He also had this stream of thoughts on his Twitter feed:
What does it all mean? Well, at the very least Sunday's game set him off. Frustration over leaving the game because of injury certainly could have played a role, though the two circumstances he mentioned (refs and snowballs) are definitely gripe-worthy.
Then again, his tone in an expansive interview with Mark Craig that appeared in the Sunday Star Tribune also reflected some hints of frustration. Consider this passage:
Asked to describe his level of frustration with the quarterback situation, Peterson thought for a moment. He’s never been one to complain.
“It can be frustrating at times when it’s just not consistent at that position,” Peterson said. “It makes it harder on the run in a sense. … I think the play will pick up. I feel like we just need someone that can have the mind-set that they want to be a champion at the quarterback position.”
Asked if the Vikings need an elite quarterback to win the Super Bowl, even with him on the team, Peterson didn’t hesitate.
“I don’t necessarily think so,” he said. “We need someone who can manage the game. I feel like the quarterback of the team is someone who just needs to manage and get the job done. But I would surely expect that person to go in with the mind-set of, ‘Hey, I’m the leader of this team.’ The same mind-set that I have. I feel like that would be the best solution.”
Again, justified and nothing really controversial. But as Craig noted, Peterson isn't one to complain. Maybe what we're seeing is a man pushed too far -- at least until he gets a quarterback, full health and a snowball-free game.