An Open Apology to Adrian Peterson

On December 9, 2012 by Peter Mayer

There aren’t many times in life when you can truly appreciate what you have in front of you.

Often times it’s gone before you realize it and you never get the chance to marvel at its perfection. Luckily for faithful Vikings’ fans, they know what they are seeing.

All-universe running back Adrian Peterson’s remarkable comeback has been well-advertised throughout the sports world, and most NFL fans understand that he is a once-in-a-generation player.

Our parents and grandparents tell tales of Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson and Walter Payton. The 30-somethings tell us that no one will ever be better than Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith.

They have no idea how wrong they are.

As this season wears on, it becomes more and more obvious that Peterson truly is better than before his devastating ACL tear on Christmas Eve of last year.

Throughout the offseason, we heard rumors that Peterson’s recovery was going remarkably well and that he was ahead of schedule. He had said since the day after the injury that he would play in Week 1 of the 2012 season, but that seemed like an impossibility.

We all knew that Peterson was a freak, and had faith that he could return to top form sometime this year, but we never could have been prepared for what has happened so far. We doubted his freakish, superhuman abilities, and I guarantee we won’t do it again.

That’s why I think he is going to be better than Sweetness, Brown and Emmitt.

Correction, that’s why I KNOW he is going to be better.

I have learned to never doubt Adrian Peterson, and neither should you. Since the day he was drafted, he has told us that he wants to be not only the best running back in NFL history, but the best overall player the league has ever seen. If that is still his goal, he will do anything to accomplish it.

As a true Vikings fan, I can say that I am absolutely blessed to watch Peterson run the ball. His style is the perfect combination of power, speed and vision. Defenders don’t know if he is going to run them over, juke around them, or sprint past them. Injuries like the one Peterson suffered last season make you appreciate the product in front of you, but that same injury solidified the fact that he is going to stick around for another 10 years.

After the surgery to repair Peterson’s knee, the surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, sought out Peterson’s parents. Andrews was stunned by the lack of wear and tear in Peterson’s knee. Other than the obviously torn tendons, there was no sign of deterioration in any way, which is stunning.

The violence Peterson runs with should be breaking down the tendons and ligaments, but Andrews compared Peterson’s to that of a newborn baby. At this point, I’m not sure why I’m surprised by anything this man does anymore.

Unfortunately, the Vikings have managed to waste his brilliant career to this point. It is entirely possible that Peterson’s legacy will parallel Barry Sanders’ Super Bowl-less career. On behalf of Vikings fans around the world, I would like to issue the following apology to Peterson:

Dear Adrian,

You truly have been a blessing to watch since the Vikings drafted you with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Six teams (Raiders, Lions, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals and Redskins) passed on you, and I am eternally grateful.

You have wowed your fans and doubters alike, and have given hope to Vikings fans every year. You singlehandedly sell tickets to every game you play in and win some of those games all on your own. Your career has not matched up to your skill level, and for that, I am sorry.

I am sorry the Vikings drafted you in the first place. The way things have been around Winter Park and the Metrodome, it seems you were doomed from the start. We are notorious for choking in pressure situations (see Super Bowls IV, VII, IX and XI, along with the ’98, ’00 and ’09 NFC Championship games).

I am sorry for what happened in the 2006 NFL Draft, when the Vikings selected Tarvaris Jackson to be their next quarterback. You came into the league with an FCS quarterback leading the team, which never made sense to anyone.

I am sorry for hiring Brad Childress as our head coach. While its true that he coordinated the Eagles offense to many successful seasons, he never called plays and rarely displayed any leadership. Andy Reid is an offensive-minded coach who was very hands on with Childress’ system, so it’s hard to justify hiring him as a head coach. He was part of the evil “Triangle of Authority” that clearly didn’t work. He went above the heads of Rick Spielman and Rob Brzezinski and released Randy Moss just four weeks after trading for him.

I am sorry for the 2009 season, when it seemed like destiny was on our side. Brett Favre was leading the charge and continuously put the team in a position to win until the last offensive play of the season, when he threw a costly interception in the Superdome. A boneheaded “12 men in the huddle” penalty required us to try for more yards, which led to that interception.

Speaking of Favre…

I am sorry for completely wasting the 2010 season. It was ridiculous to assume that we could turn back the clocks and relive the magic of ’09. Favre’s age clearly caught up with him, and it would have been much smarter to find someone in the draft or free agency. Instead, we were able to address the need in the 2011 draft, which leads to another apology…

I am sorry for drafting Christian Ponder. At the No. 12 pick, three quarterbacks had already been taken, leaving us scrambling to decide the future of the franchise. Rather than weigh our options, which included trading down and taking either Ponder or Andy Dalton, we panicked and snagged Ponder too early. Since his first start in the middle of last season, it seems Ponder has actually regressed. The past few games have been pathetic. It’s clear he is not the franchise quarterback and desperately needs to be replaced.

I am sorry. You don’t deserve any of this. You deserve to be on a team that has a chance to win the Super Bowl every year, such as the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers. You are nearly a lock to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton someday, and it would be a travesty to not have a Super Bowl ring to go with it.

We love you, but we don’t deserve you. Thank you for everything, and I hope we figure out a way to get you the ring you deserve.

Sincerely,

Vikings fans around the world