New Viking carries heartache

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2007 - 9:44 PM

Tragedy has been a frequent intruder in Adrian Peterson's life.

For about five years during the 1990s, Nelson Peterson coached his son's youth sports teams, traveled the country with his AAU basketball squad and considered himself a good father. He also sold crack cocaine out of a Wal-Mart warehouse in Palestine, Texas.

Until that fateful day in 1998, when federal agents closed in, putting Peterson out of business and behind bars for eight years -- or the entire length of Adrian Peterson's teenage years.

"It was a hard time for me with my dad being snatched out of my life like that," Adrian said. "But I had to find a way to cope with it."

Sunday, less than 24 hours after the Vikings made him the seventh pick in the NFL draft, was a sign of just how far Adrian has come.

The former University of Oklahoma running back was basking in the afterglow while seated between Nelson and his mother, Bonita Jackson, inside the Vikings' Winter Park facility.

"Adrian's a pretty unique kid," Bonita said. "He's had big obstacles to overcome in his life. But with a lot of prayers, we made it from Point A to Point B."

Peterson has experienced a lifetime of heartache in his 22 years. When he was 7, he saw his brother Brian, 8, get struck by a drunken driver and killed while riding his bike. Then, in February, on the eve of the NFL scouting combine, Peterson discovered that his stepbrother, Chris Parish, had been shot and killed in Houston. An elite draft prospect who could have skipped the workout, Peterson impressed teams with an outstanding workout that included a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.

"The strength of God has helped me," Peterson said. "Just knowing that he will never give you more than you can handle or bear. It's really how you take everything in and what you make of it. Just look at it in a positive way instead of hanging my head down and having a reason for failure."

Nelson Peterson was raised by two loving, hard-working parents. Drugs weren't a part of his childhood, he said.

But drugs infected his adult life. According to court documents obtained by the Dallas Morning News for a story last fall, Nelson and 22 others were charged with running a crack cocaine operation that did $4 million in sales.

"I was a young guy who made a mistake," Nelson said Sunday. "I got involved in the drug world that I shouldn't have gotten involved in. I was involved in selling drugs and laundering money and stuff like that. I never used them myself."

Nelson and Bonita were outstanding athletes growing up. Nelson, whose best sport was basketball, was a 6-4 guard who was good enough to play for Idaho State University and get a tryout with the Philadelphia 76ers. Bonita was a track sprinter who once ran an 11.3-second 100-meter dash and earned a scholarship to the University of Houston. She swears she would have become an Olympian had she not gotten pregnant with Brian early on in college.

"I got a little bit of my mom in me," said Adrian, who said he once ran the 100-meter dash in 10.26. "My mom, she's funny. She's got a heart of gold. My dad raised me to be a man. He wasn't there for me physically, but mentally he was there."

According to the Dallas Morning News, Nelson's first drug arrest came on Christmas Eve in 1991. He was caught with 0.25 grams of crack and more than $18,000. He received five years' probation.

It was a different story in 1998. He received a 10-year sentence and spent the first two years in the Texarkana, Texas, federal prison.

"Even though I had no previous history of being a violent person or anything like that, I spent maybe two years behind the fence and the barbed wires and all of that," Nelson said. "It was pretty high security. Not a super-max prison."

After two years, Nelson's sentence came up for review. He was moved to a lower-security prison for good behavior and spent the next six years there.

"I was in the same kind of camp that Martha Stewart went to," Nelson said with a laugh.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close