Mark Albert’s choice of lunch tote must have been pretty pathetic back when he and Fox 9 anchor Kelcey Carlson worked together in Michigan.

I recently found notes from an interview with Albert, the former KSTP-TV reporter who’s now a CBS freelance correspondent. He was saying how lucky Fox 9 was to get Carlson, who came to the Twin Cities from North Carolina. They have been friends since the day she brought him a lunchbox about 10 years ago when they both worked for a Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo station.

“I’m thrifty,” Albert said. “I was bringing [my lunches in] this monstrosity, this massive picnic cooler. If you could imagine a lunch cooler where you have enough room for one of those blue [freezer packs] and you put a sandwich and snacks in — it was like two times the size it should have been.”

Some days he’d bring his lunch in a plastic bag — “whatever I had.”

Carlson took it upon herself to improve this aspect of Albert’s workday. “I had just moved from working in Northern California,” he said. “She is wonderful. She was so kind and welcoming. She took pity on the new guy there. She came in one day with this lunchbox, this lunch cooler that would perfectly fit all of my snacks.”

Albert still uses the Coleman cooler.

“I was touched. It was just such a kind, generous thing to do. It was this kind thing and we’ve been friends ever since,” said Albert. “It just speaks to her kindness and her warmth and what a good person she is.”

Carlson is by all accounts hardworking and low-maintenance around Fox 9, something that cannot be said of everyone who’s sat where she does. For example, the married mother of two boys declined an offer of a baby shower before she delivered her baby girl, whose conception was a surprise bigger than a lunchbox.

 

AP should feel the love

“Pardon the Interruption’s” Tony Kornheiser, my boy, admitted he was “loud wrong” about how things would turn out between Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.

TK didn’t think he would go back to the Vikings at all and sure didn’t imagine the team restructuring a contract to the aging, gifted player’s advantage. You will recall that Peterson wanted to be traded and was pouting because Winter Park was not giving him an attaboy for all the embarrassment and lost sponsorships caused when he was charged for physically assaulting a 4-year-old, who turned out to be one of the NFL darling’s many children. Peterson was suspended.

“You know what else? I think he’s going to have a great year because he’s rested,” TK told co-host Mike Wilbon Tuesday. “You’re Adrian Peterson,” said Wilbon, “and you’re 30 years old and you saw your life, for a while, without football and you knew it could have gone on without football. You get $20 million guaranteed. In the NFL, where virtually nothing is guaranteed, he now has it. And, Tony, past 30, two more years and the option? That’s your whole career anyway.”

While I doubt Peterson would ever take off plays or be a locker room pain like Randy Moss, I guess the Vikings wanted him thoroughly motivated for a championship playoff season, the memories from which will propel the team into its new stadium as, dare I say it, reigning Super Bowl champs.

Now that Peterson has his money, a great relief to more than one woman, he’s still got some PR work to do. He needs to have autograph-signing sessions all over the Twin Cities. He needs to do an interview — I am available — where he looks into a camera and seems contrite, talks about the complications of trying to be in all his kids’ lives and accepts responsibility for all the problems associated with him not knowing when to stop spanking. I’m talking Johnson & Johnson 1982, year of the Tylenol tampering hysteria. The company won praise for issuing a quick recall and accepting full responsibility.

I don’t know how much of a loss the Radisson sponsorship is to the Vikings but I do know who I’d send, after some coaching, to try to win back the account: No 28.

He’s apparently very charming one-on-one.

 

C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.