From a misdiagnosed heart condition in high school to transferring colleges before he started playing college football to the tragic premature death of his mother, few players have endured the tragedy or been forced to grow up faster than Adams.
As a standout at Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., Adams was preparing to be a coveted recruit and was fielding offers from such schools as Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Miami and West Virginia, his football career almost came to a premature end when he was taking a physical prior to his senior year of high school and was diagnosed with a heart disorder.
“In the beginning of the summer, they diagnosed me with a heart condition, but it was the monitor at doctor’s office,” Adams said. “There was a malfunction in the monitor. We went back and did another one and it turned out negative.”
While the mistake was rectified within a week, those dark days in between were among the worst of his young life.
“I was scared,” Adams said. “I thought my playing days were over. I was really scared, but when they called and the doctor said it was just the monitor, I was really happy I could still play football.”
After committing to Florida, he de-committed when wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill re-signed late in the process. He settled on committing to the University of Toledo and expected his college career to be with the Rockets…until fate intervened in his life.
On Nov. 3, 2013, his mother, Michelle Conway Scott, was killed in a car accident and his life took an unexpected turn. He was granted a hardship waiver from the NCAA to transfer to the University of South Florida, where he could be closer to his family. He became the legal guardian of his younger brother, Antonio Blount, who is now 20, but was a minor at the time.
As would be expected, Adams was forced to become the man of the family and take on responsibilities most 19-year olds couldn’t even fathom.
“I had to grow up and learn fast,” Adams said. “The situation was bad. I was at a really low point in my life. I couldn’t let my family down. I couldn’t let my mom down. I had to grow up and be a man early.”
With all the turmoil in his life, the football field became a safe haven for a grieving Adams and he set USF on fire. In his two years as a starter, he caught 112 passes for 1,644 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed 34 times for 318 yards and six TDs.
But, perhaps what intrigued the Vikings the most was that he was a kick returner who had 38 kick returns for 1,000 yards (a 26.3-yard average), including a 97-yard touchdown.
Adams was told by the Vikings that he will be in the mix to be their kickoff return man, replacing the departed Cordarrelle Patterson, who led the NFL in kick return average three of his four seasons in Minnesota. Adding to it is the potential to be in the mix as a punt returner.
“I’m going to have to come in and compete for the job,” Adams said. “It’s up to me to come in, compete and possibly be the starting kick returner. I did kickoffs live, but only punts in practice,” Adams said, adding what his qualities are that make him a dangerous return man. “My speed, my vision, (being able to) read blocks and read holes and my ability to set up blocks and put everybody in a great position.”
For a kid who has had to grow up very fast and endure tragedies and scares that most people twice his age haven’t had to endure, Adams feels blessed to be a member of the Vikings and is ready to make his imprint on the organization and live the dream that his mother wished for him.