"I'll never wash this," he says, holding it close to his face. "I don't want to forget what it was like."
Aunt Ola and Uncle Larry, just arrived from the family's hometown of Palestine, Texas, are busy in the kitchen. Tonight's menu includes boiled cabbage, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and sweet potato pie.
The garage houses a Range Rover and a BMW 760, but from outside the home looks like many others in suburban Eden Prairie.
"Where I came from, we lived in apartments, or in a house that was never anything to brag about," said Peterson, whose rookie contract guarantees him $17 million. "I always dreamed of making it into a nice house. But I didn't need anything really big or crazy. Just something that feels right."
His neighbors have knocked on the door, offering cookies and other welcome gifts like good Minnesotans. Valleyfair, the Mall of America and an occasional dinner sojourn constitute Peterson's exploration of the Twin Cities -- which he curtailed when "it got too cold," he said.
It is 45 degrees as Peterson speaks. His climactic adjustment still is underway.
"When I got drafted here, that's the first crazy thought that went into my head," Peterson said. "I'd always heard how cold it is. People tell me that  is nothing, that it feels good. To me, that is freezing."
He let out a sigh.
"I can't even think what it will feel like this winter," he adds. "I guess I'm going to have to get used to it."
Don't believe the angry talk
The story is out, as told by the waves of national reporters who already have visited. Adrian Peterson is angry. That's what makes him so good, why he runs around some defenders and then conjures the power to run over others.
At 8, Peterson watched as his 9-year-old brother Brian was struck and killed by a drunken driver. His father, Nelson, spent nearly eight years in prison for laundering drug money. In February, a stepbrother, Chris Paris, was shot and killed in Houston.
One problem: "He's not angry at anything," said Vikings fullback Tony Richardson, a 13-year veteran. "This is one of the calmest, most humble superstars I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot."
Peterson laughs at the idea as he clicks through channels of Wednesday night television.
"I've been through some things, and that gave me a passion on the field," he said. "Those are the things that keep me going. But I'm not angry. I'm not angry at the world. It's just a competitive game, and I want to win."
That passion emerges briefly as he takes on Derrick in a mostly friendly pool game.
"You better just sit back and watch what's fixing to happen here," Adrian tells a visitor.
"See what I have to deal with?" Derrick says, laughing.