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Adrian Lewis Peterson (born March 21, 1985 in Palestine, Texasmarker), nicknamed "A.D."(for "All Day") or "Purple Jesus", is a professional football running back for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. Peterson was selected by the Vikings with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Oklahomamarker. At Oklahoma, Peterson set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards as a true freshman. As a First-Team All-American, he also set a freshman record by finishing as the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Peterson finished as the school's third all-time leading rusher.

Following his stellar first pro season, Peterson was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl, Peterson rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, achieving the second highest rushing total in Pro Bowl history. Peterson was awarded the MVP award for his performance in the Pro Bowl, which led to a 42-30 victory over the AFC. Peterson is only the fifth player in NFL history to have more than 3,000 yards through their first two seasons.

Early years

Peterson was interested in football as a child; he began playing at the age of seven. He played football in the popular Pop Warner Football program. He continued his interest in athletics into high school where he competed in track and field, basketball, and football at Palestine High Schoolmarker. He was most notable in football where he played during his junior and senior years. Peterson's 2002–2003 campaign as a junior with 2,051 yards on 246 carries, an average of 8.3 yards per carry, and 22 touchdowns. As a senior in 2003–2004, he rushed for 2,960 yards on 252 attempts, an average of 11.7 yards per carry, and 32 touchdowns. Following Maurice Clarett's unsuccessful attempt to sue the NFL over their age limit in 2004 there was considerable debate over whether any high school football player might be able to make the leap from the preps to the pro game. The player most frequently mentioned was Peterson.

Concluding his high school football career at the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he led the West squad with 95 yards on nine carries and scored two touchdowns, and announced at the game he would attend college at Oklahoma. Among his other choices of schools were the USCmarker, Texasmarker, Texas A&Mmarker, UCLAmarker, Arkansasmarker, and Miamimarker. Following the season, he was awarded the Hall Trophy as the U.S. Army National Player of the Year. In addition, he was named the top high school player by College Football News and

College career

During his freshman season at Oklahoma, Peterson broke many NCAA freshman rushing records, rushing for 1925 yards and leading the nation in carries with 339. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing second to USCmarker quarterback Matt Leinart, which was the highest finish ever for a freshman. He was also a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Among other honors include being the first Oklahoma freshman recognized as a First-Team Associated Press All-America. Peterson contributed to a perfect regular season for the Oklahoma Sooners and participated in the 2005 BCS National Championship Game with a berth to the FedEx Orange Bowl and the loss to the National Champion USC Trojans.

Peterson's playing time in 2005 was limited by a high ankle sprain. He injured his ankle in the first Big 12 Conference game of the season against Kansas State Universitymarker. Despite missing time in four games, he rushed for 1,208 yards and fourteen touchdowns on 220 carries, finishing second in Big 12 rushing yardage. His 2005 season was also notable for a career-long eighty-four yard touchdown run against Oklahoma State Universitymarker. Upon the conclusion of the season, he was named a member of the All-Big 12 Conference team.

Peterson runs against Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Nelson Peterson was released from prison during the 2006 college football season and was able to watch his son as a spectator for the first time on October 14, 2006 when Oklahoma played Iowa State Universitymarker. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State in that game, but Adrian Peterson broke his collar bone diving into the end zone on a 53 yard touchdown run. During a press conference on October 18, Peterson said he was told by doctors to expect to be out for four to six weeks. At the time of the injury, Peterson needed only 150 yards to gain to pass Billy Sims as the University of Oklahoma's all-time leading rusher. He was unable to return for the rest of the Sooners regular season, but returned for the Sooners' last game against Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, where he rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown. He refused to discuss his plans beyond the end of this season with the press. He concluded his college football career with 1,112 rushing yards his final season, even after missing multiple games due to injury for a total of 4,045 rushing yards (only 3 seasons). He was seventy-three yards short of passing Billy Sims as Oklahoma's all-time leading rusher.

Awards and honors

  • Hall Trophy (2003)
  • First-team AP All-Freshman (2004)
  • First-team consensus All-American (2004)
  • Doak Walker Award finalist (2004)
  • Heisman Trophy finalist (2004)
  • Jim Brown Trophy winner (2004)

Professional career


On January 15, 2007, Peterson declared that he would forego his senior year of college and enter the 2007 NFL Draft. Coming into the league, he was known as a tall, upright runner possessing a rare combination of speed, strength, agility, size, and vision, along with a highly aggressive running style. His rare talent as both a great breakaway and power runner has often raised comparisons to past legends, including Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, O. J. Simpson, and Jim Brown. Concerns about his injuries suffered during college were noted by the media and potential NFL teams. He started 22 out of 31 games in his college career and he had a dislocated shoulder his first year (although he did not miss any games), a high ankle sprain his sophomore year, and a broken collarbone his final year at Oklahoma. His durability was a consideration by at least two teams in their draft analysis, which impacted selection position. Prior to the 2007 NFL Draft, Peterson was compared by professional football scouts to Eric Dickerson. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said of Peterson, "You can make the argument, [Peterson] is the best player in this draft, if not, certainly one of the top three."

Pre-draft measureables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20 ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6-1⅜ * 217 * 4.40 * 1.53 * 2.58 * 4.40 * 7.09 * 38½" * 10'07" * X X
* represents NFL Combine

Minnesota Vikings

On April 28, 2007, Peterson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Peterson was the first running back selected in that year's draft. At a press conference during the draft, Peterson announced, "My collarbone, I would say it's 90% healed. A lot of teams know that, and I don't see it stopping me from being prepared for the season."

Peterson believed he was a player that a franchise could build around. In an interview with IGN following the NFL Draft, he said, "I'm a player who is coming in with the determination to turn a team around. I want to help my team get to the playoffs, win…and run wild. I want to bring people to the stands. I want people to come to the game to see what I can do next. Things like that can change the whole attitude of an organization. I want to win." He later told the Star Tribune in an interview, "I want to be the best player to ever play this game."

Nearly three months after being drafted, he was signed by the Vikings on July 29, 2007. His contract is worth US$40.5 million over six years, with $17 million guaranteed.


Peterson’s outstanding rookie season began with high expectations from himself; he announced ambitious goals including being named Offensive Rookie of the Year, rushing for over 1,300 yards during the course of the year. The NFL's rushing record for a rookie is currently held by Eric Dickerson at 1,808 yards. Just eleven weeks into his rookie season with the Vikings, Peterson was well on his way to Dickerson’s record and considered one of the elite running backs in the NFL.

On August 10, Peterson made his Minnesota Vikings debut in a preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. Peterson ran for 33 yards on 11 carries with one catch for two yards. On September 9, 2007, Peterson ran for 103 yards on nineteen carries in his first NFL regular season game against the Atlanta Falcons. In addition to his rushing yardage, he scored his first professional football touchdown on a sixty yard pass reception. Over his first three regular season games, his 431 yards (271 rushing & 160 receiving) from scrimmage are a team record. For his performance during the three games, Peterson received the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award for both September and October 2007.

His breakout game as a professional came on October 14, 2007 against the Chicago Bears, highlighted by a three touchdown performance and a then franchise record of 224 yards rushing on 20 carries. Peterson established additional team records for a rookie during this game, which included the most 100-yard games rushing and the longest touchdown run from scrimmage. He also set an NFL rookie record with 361 all-purpose yards in a single game. His 607 rushing yards through the first five games of the season is second in NFL history to Eric Dickerson. Following Peterson's record performance, Deion Sanders, now an NFL Network analyst said the following about Peterson: "He has the vision of a Marshall Faulk, the power of an Earl Campbell, and the speed of an Eric Dickerson. Let’s pray he has the endurance of an Emmitt Smith." He has also been compared to Walter Payton and Tony Dorsett by Star Tribune sports journalist Jim Souhan.

Three weeks later on November 4, 2007, Peterson broke his own franchise record as well as the NFL single game rushing yard record previously held by Jamal Lewis since 2003 when he rushed for 296 yards on thirty carries and three touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers. That game was his second game of over 200 yards rushing, a feat no other rookie has ever accomplished in a season. In addition to the NFL rushing record in a single game, it took him past 1,000 yards rushing for the year after just eight games. His 1,036 rushing yards represents the best eight-game performance by a rookie in NFL history.

Peterson splitting defenders in the 2008 Pro Bowl.
In honor of Peterson's record breaking performance against the San Diego Chargers, the jersey he wore that night was sent to the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker. On November 11, 2007, just a week after his record-breaking performance against the Chargers, Peterson injured the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in a game against the Green Bay Packers. The injury occurred in the third quarter of a 34-0 defeat at Lambeau Fieldmarker on a low, yet clean tackle by Packers cornerback Al Harris. Almost a month after the injury, Peterson returned to action on December 2, 2007 against the Detroit Lions scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 116 yards.On December 17 Adrian played in his first Monday Night Football game where he had 78 yards rushing, 17 yards receiving and 2 TDs. The next day Adrian was named as the starting running back for the 2008 NFC Pro Bowl team. On January 2, he was named The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

On February 10, 2008, Peterson won the 2008 NFL Pro Bowl MVP award with 16 carries for 129 yards rushing along with 2 touchdowns. The 129 yards rushing was the 2nd most in Pro Bowl history. Adrian was the first rookie since Marshall Faulk in 1994 to win the Pro Bowl MVP award.. Peterson and Faulk are currently the only NFL players to win both the NFL Pro Bowl MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in the same year.

Adrian Peterson finished in second place in rushing yards (1341) in the 2007 season behind LaDainian Tomlinson, who finished with 1474 rushing yards.


Peterson in 2009 NFC Wild Card game against the Eagles
Adrian Peterson and the Vikings entered the 2008 season with high expectations and as he did during his rookie season, Peterson set high goals for himself including a 2000-yard campaign and the NFL MVP award. Questions remained as to Peterson’s durability and the ability of the Vikings offense to take the focus of opposing defenses off of Peterson.

Peterson and the Vikings began the season with a 24-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Peterson finished with 103 yards on 19 carries along with a touchdown. In the following loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Peterson rushed for a then season-high 160 yards on 29 carries, and also recorded 4 receptions for 20 yards. However, Peterson was held to 77 yards on 17 carries and no score in their 20-10 win against the Carolina Panthers. In the loss to Tennessee, Peterson rushed 18 times for 80 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also had 4 receptions for 21 yards, a total of 101 yards in the loss.

In the 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints, Peterson was held to 32 yards on 21 carries, a 1.5 average. Against the Detroit Lions in the following week, Peterson rushed 25 times for 111 yards, but lost two fumbles. However, Peterson bounced back from the fumbles the following week against the Bears, totaling 22 carries for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Following a bye week, Peterson rushed 25 times for 139 yards and a touchdown in a victory over Houston. The contest marked the third straight 100-yard rushing game for Peterson and the Vikings. As of week eight, Peterson was second in the NFL in rushing yards with 823 yards, 172 yards behind Clinton Portis.

In week 10, on Sunday 9 November, Peterson played in a victory against the Green Bay Packers 28-27. He had 30 carries for 192 yards. His longest run was 29 yards; the run was the game-winning touchdown. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and also had three receptions. Peterson's stellar performance put him in the top spot for rushing yards this season, with 1015 yards.

Week 11 saw the (5-4) Minnesota Vikings at the (6-3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was coming off of a bye week and was a notoriously difficult team to run against. Peterson was limited to 85 yards on just 19 carries, as the Vikings struggled to produce offense. In Week 12 Peterson was benched the first two offensive series vs. the Jaguars for being late to a team meeting although he did amass 80 rushing yards and a TD At the end of Week 12. Adrian Peterson became the NFL league leader for rushing yards again with 1,311 yards. Following Week 16, Peterson has 1,657 yards which led the league, and it was announced on December 18, Adrian will be the starting running back for the NFC Pro Bowl team. In his final regular season game in 2008, Peterson ran for 103 yards 21 carries, including a 67 yard touchdown run.

Adrian finished the season leading the league with 1,760 yards, which marks the second most yards in a sophomore season behind Eric Dickerson's 2,105 yard season.

In Adrian's first 30 games he has 3,101 yards which marks the 3rd best start to a career for running backs behind Eric Dickerson with 3,600 yards and Jim Brown with 3,144 yards. Adrian became the fourth running back to lead the league in yards per game in his first two seasons along with Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, and Eric Dickerson.

January 14, 2009, Adrian Peterson is named to his second AP All-Pro team in two years.


Prior to the start of 2009 season, analysts of both NFL Network and ESPN unanimously named Peterson the best running back in the NFL today. The arrival of Brett Farve, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, coming out of retirement brought both expectation and speculation with Peterson's new role in the offense. Head Coach Brad Childress however stated that he wanted to continue leaning on Peterson giving him a large amount of carries. Farve worked well into the offense through the first half of the season, re-establishing Peterson's ability with a passing attack. Peterson had 917 rushing yards through week 10, while the Vikings had a record of 8-1.

Peterson opened the season by rushing for 180 yards on 25 carries and 3 touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns, setting a new Vikings franchise record for opening day rushing. He again broke the hundred-yard barrier in Week Six against the Baltimore Ravens, with 143 yards and 22 carries. Peterson's next 100 yard effort came against the Lions, with 133 yards on 18 carries. In a week 11 tromping of the Lions , Peterson was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Week.

NFL awards

NFL records

  • Most 200-yard rushing games for a rookie (2)
  • Most yards rushing in the first eight games (1,036)
  • Most yards rushing in a single game (296)
  • Second rookie ever to win Pro Bowl MVP (Marshall Faulk in 1994)

Career statistics

  Rushing Receiving Fumbles
Season Team GP Att Yds Avg Yds/G Long TD Rec Yds Long TD FUM Lost
2007 Min 14 238 1341 5.6 95.8 73T 12 19 268 60T 1 4 3
2008 Min 16 363 1760 4.8 110.0 67T 10 21 125 16 0 9 4
2009 Min 10 205 999 4.9 99.9 64T 11 25 215 44 0 4 4
Total 40 806 4,100 5.1 102.5 73T 33 65 608 60T 1 17 11


Adrian Peterson was a hyperactive toddler, ramping up his activity while others his age napped. His dad nicknamed him “All Day,” which was later shortened to A.D.—his nickname today. His father Nelson served eight years in prison, starting when Adrian was 12, for laundering drug money. Adrian's brother Brian, older by one year, was killed by a drunk driver when Adrian was eight; another half-brother was murdered the night before Adrian participated in the NFL Combine.

He has one daughter, Adeja. He currently resides in Eden Prairie, Minnesotamarker, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesotamarker, with his brothers Derrick and Eldon Peterson.


  1. Peterson's Father Always Watching from Sidelines Yahoo Sports, February 4, 2009

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