Known as one of the best running backs ever, Adrian Peterson has had quite the career. Lets look at his amazing seasons, injuries, legal troubles and everything else about the Vikings’ star.
In 2004, Peterson started his attendance at the University of Oklahoma, where he played under coach Bob Stoops. In his true freshman season, Peterson broke several records. He led the nation in carries with 339, while rushing for 1,925.
Despite his dominance, he finished second in Heisman voting to USC’s Matt Leinart. In 2005, Peterson suffered a broken ankle. He missed four games, yet still finished second in Big 12 rushing yards. In his junior season, 2006, Peterson suffered a broken collarbone and missed most of the season.
In January of 2007, Peterson declared for the NFL Draft. Concerns about injuries made some teams weary about selecting the elite prospect. However, with the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Peterson. ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said this of Peterson, “You can make the argument, [Peterson] is the best player in the draft.”
In his rookie season, Peterson had a record breaking start to the season. He recorded over 1,000 yards in the first eight games, including two games for over 200 yards. In the ninth game of the season, he would suffer a right knee injury. Just one month later, Peterson returned back to action. He went on to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the NFL Pro Bowl MVP at the end of the season.
In his sophomore season, AP had an excellent year it seemed like. In Week 12 however, Peterson was benched for the first two offensive drives as a result of being late to a team meeting. Peterson still wound up leading the league in rushing yards, starting in the Pro Bowl and was selected to his second All-Pro team in just two years.
In Peterson’s third NFL season, Brett Favre came out of retirement to join the Minnesota Vikings. Some questioned if Peterson could keep up his stats with Favre leading the way, but Favre’s presence just strengthened Peterson. The Vikings started 8-1 and AP had over 900 rushing yards through 9 games. Peterson was overshadowed by Chris Johnson and his 2,000 yards in the 2009 season, yet he finished fifth in rushing. Peterson returned to the Pro Bowl for his third straight apperance.
In 2010, Peterson recorded another great season. He finished with over 1,600 yards and fixed his fumbling problem, ending the season with just one. His team did not make the playoffs, but he represented them in the Pro Bowl for his fourth straight year. After the season, Peterson was ranked the #1 running back and #3 overall player on the NFL Network’s Top 100, which is selected by NFL Players.
In 2011, Peterson was signed to a $96 million, seven year extension, which made him the highest payed rusher in NFL history. In Week 10, Peterson suffered a high-ankle sprain. He was ruled out for the rest of the game and the following week. On December 24th, 2011, Peterson suffered a season ending ACL and MCL tear. He finished the season under 1,000 yards for the first time in his career as an NFL star.
Peterson returned from ACL surgery in quite the timely fashion, starting Week 1 of the 2012 season. Peterson finished the season with over 2,090 yards, the second most in NFL history. Peterson, needing 208 yards to break the single season rushing record, had a 26 yard trot, setting the Vikings up for field goal to make the playoffs. Peterson finished 9 yards short of the record. The Vikings, without starting quarterback Christian Ponder, lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Green Bay Packers. Peterson earned NFL MVP and NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards that season. He also finished second in the Comeback Player of the Year race to Peyton Manning. After the season, Peterson underwent Sports Hernia surgery and it became known that he played the last quarter of the season through this injury.
In 2014, Peterson struggled for the first three games without All-Pro fullback Jerome Felton, despite a 78 yard touchdown on his first carry of the season. In early October, Peterson missed a practice for what was later revealed that his son was in critical condition in the hospital. Peterson’s son passed away a few days later at two years old after being assaulted by the mother’s live-in boyfriend.
After Week 1 of the 2014 season, Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges. He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list for all of the 2014 season. Peterson finished with 70 rushing yards, 10 recieving yards and no touchdowns. On February 26, 2015, Peterson was reinstated to the league by the Federal Supreme Court.
This leaves a huge blemish on an outstanding career. How does this affect his legacy? Will he be a Hall of Famer? How does this affect your perception of him?