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Continued: Sportsperson of the year: Peterson is runaway winner

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 23, 2012 - 8:24 PM

It’s part of what Frazier calls Peterson’s "name it and claim it" achievement system.

"It all starts with faith in God and believing," Peterson says. "And having that confidence that no matter what happens throughout your life, you can bounce back and refocus and continue to have faith that you can accomplish all things."

Peterson realizes it sounds odd. But he’s certain he fortified this mindset as a kid in Texas, just 7 years old when he saw his older brother, Brian, be hit by a drunken driver while riding his bike.

Within a week, Brian died. At age 8.

Peterson was crushed.

Yet even as a 7-year-old, he darted around self-pity and ran right over his grief. Peterson struggled to accept Brian’s death but knew he couldn’t wallow when his mother’s anguish required soothing.

"I had to be so strong during that time," he says. "I had to be positive and constantly reassure my mom everything was going to be OK. Instead of beating myself up and crying the whole year ’round over my brother’s death, I told myself to use it as motivation, use it to be positive."

Then in seventh grade, when his father, Nelson, went to prison on a felony conviction of laundering drug money, Adrian took a similar approach.

"I said, ‘Ya know what? I’m going to make my dad happy,’" Peterson says. "He made a mistake, and his own choices put him in that situation. But I went about looking at it in a different way, like there was a new motivation for me.

"I’ve been doing that my whole life."

• • •

Adrian Peterson has been given unbridled tenacity.

 

Maybe it’s part stubbornness, too — with a unique combination of anger and persistence mixed in. Whatever it is, Peterson hates accepting defeat.

It’s why, after rushing for 210 yards in a 23-14 loss at Green Bay in Week 13, he stood in front of his locker still insisting he should have done more, asserting that a 6-yard third-quarter run should have easily gone for 94 and lamenting that his 48-yard burst a few possessions earlier hadn’t reached the end zone — which, of course, would have rescued Christian Ponder from subsequently throwing an upset-killing interception in the end zone.

"When things go wrong," Peterson says, "I choose to focus on the things I could be doing better."

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