Adrian Peterson: The Story of The Struggle

One of the league’s most impressive athletes is heading out of Minnesota and making a big change this offseason.


Joe Freihofer, Sports Reporter

A young boy, wide eyed and on the top of the world, enjoyed every passing second that he was spending with his older brother. He was only seven at the time and wanted to be just like Brian. The weather could not have been nicer and the pair was taking an evening bike ride in Palestine, Texas. As they began to pedal up a hill, the young boy could hear an engine roaring from off in the distance. Tires were squealing, and the pair of headlights cresting over the hill began to pan back and forth erratically. Suddenly, the car leaped over the hill and headed straight towards Brian. A fatal collision between the car and the bike was the last time that young boy got to see his brother, and an array of tragedy began to follow shortly after the death. His father was arrested for money laundering, and he was left all alone with just his mother and a never ending supply of anger fueled by his past.

That young boy was Adrian Peterson, and although his childhood was filled with tragedy and adversity, it certainly allowed him to find refuge through sports. He went on to play track and basketball at Palestine High School, but where he really shined was on the football field. He scored 32 touchdowns during his senior season, won national player of the year honors from all sorts of different companies and outlets, and earned himself a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma to be a Sooner. His freshman season was an outstanding one, placing second in the 2004 Heisman voting and becoming an all american in his first year. His next two seasons were riddled with injury, so he made a faithful leap and declared for the 2007 NFL draft; but again, tragedy struck.

The night before his combine work out, his half-brother was shot and killed just outside of Houston. This added even more fuel to a raging fire, and Peterson was able to push through the loss and had the attention of all of the scouts the next day. Many, however, questioned his medical history and wondered if he would be able to hold up in the bruising league. One team, the Minnesota Vikings, was willing to take the gamble. He ended up becoming the NFL rookie of the year in his first season, making the Minnesota front office quite proud of their pick.

From there, however, his career has been bumpy and unexpected to say the least. The Texas native has had several surgeries, injuries, and missed games. His 2 year old son passed away tragically in 2013, and was charged for child abuse in 2014 after having one of the worst seasons of his entire NFL career. Now, Peterson is looking for a new beginning. Riddled with a dark past and a never ending series of injuries, he wants to move out and start fresh. For the 2017 season, he will be wearing black and gold.

The New Orleans Saints have agreed to a 2 year deal with the former Sooner, worth $7 million. He will be sharing the back field along former Alabama running back, Mark Ingram. The two will certainly provide some problems for defenses in the future, as long as they can both stay healthy. It is a daunting two headed monster without a doubt, and Peterson wants to continue his 10 year career with a new outlook on his team.

“I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints,” Peterson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings.”

Head coach Sean Payton feels that Peterson will fit in quite well, and that he will get a feel for his role on the team with ease.

“I think the role will be very clear and defined,” Payton told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s a tough, long 16 week season. I think he’s someone that will certainly be able to complement Mark. Those guys are different in some ways, and yet we feel like we’ve added another quality player.”