Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hasn't forgotten his roots.
The University of Oklahoma announced Peterson's pledge of a $1 million donation to the Oklahoma University Athletics Department on Thursday. The donation will support the construction of Headington Hall, which will house students, and establish the Adrian Peterson Football Scholarship Endowment.
Peterson's financial gift is the largest ever to OU Athletics from a former Sooners football player.
"This was something that I had been thinking about doing for a long time," Peterson said in a statement. "I always hoped to be in a position to be able to donate back to the University of Oklahoma and make it an even better place; do whatever I could to help the university that did so much for me. It was something that I always wanted to do and there just came a time when I got established and comfortable enough to make it happen. It was a no-brainer to do it and I am thankful that I'm in a position to give back to OU and to show my appreciation."
Peterson played for the Sooners from 2004-06 and is OU's third-all-time-leading rusher. He accumulated 4,045 career rushing yards during his three seasons at OU and was a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He earned All-America honors as a freshman when he ran for a school-record 1,925 yards and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. He set NCAA freshman records for rushing yards, 100-yard rushing games (11), consecutive 100-yard rushing games (nine) and rushing attempts (339).
The football team's meeting room will be renamed "The Adrian Peterson Team Meeting Room" and his name will also be associated with Headington Hall's academic area and study lounge. Headington Hall, currently under construction, is a $75 million, 230,000-square-foot housing center for OU students and student-athletes. It will have 392 beds in two- and four-bedroom units. The building will include central dining, computer labs and study rooms, as well as a faculty-in-residence unit.
"I am extremely grateful for the gift from Adrian Peterson, which will be of great benefit to future student-athletes at OU," said OU President David L. Boren said in a statement. "I not only appreciate his generosity, but also the example he is setting for others by giving back to the program in which he was an outstanding participant. He is helping to assure that OU's excellence in athletics tradition will continue."
"All of us here at the University of Oklahoma are grateful for Adrian's generosity," said Joe Castiglione, OU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics. "As great of a player as he was in a Sooner uniform, he was always thoughtful and respectful of everyone from coaches, teammates, fans and fellow students. "
Peterson was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and went on to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. As a rookie, he set the NFL record for single-game rushing yards (296) and then became only the fifth player in NFL history to run for more than 3,000 yards through his first two seasons. In 2010, he became the fifth-fastest player to reach the 5,000-yard plateau, doing so in his 51st game. Currently, Peterson boasts the third highest rushing-yards-per-game average in NFL history (minimum 50 games) at 95.5, trailing only Jim Brown (104.3) and Barry Sanders (99.8). A four-time Pro Bowler, Peterson was named the Pro Bowl MVP as a rookie in 2007.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Peterson pledges $1M to Oklahoma U
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