For those of us familiar with the unrealistic athletic psyche of Peterson, we’ve heard these refrains before.
“My goal is to rush for 2,500 yards.”
“I can play until I’m 40.”
“I don’t pay attention to the outside noise about age.”
All of them have been part of the Peterson presentation for the last several years and, to his credit, when people have counted him out prematurely, he has shoved their negativity right down their throats with aggression.
Coming off his Christmas Eve ligament shredding in 2011, the conventional wisdom was that even elite players don’t recover from that kind of injury.
Peterson proved them wrong, coming within a couple more carries of setting the all-time single-season rushing record. His detractors had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
When he was shut down in 2014 while litigating child abuse charges, Peterson was again dismissed as never being his dominant self again – driven by the 24/7 nature of sports these days with no accountability to defend your short-term hot takes. It can be argued he showed up at Vikings OTAs only after being summarily disrespected by the league’s Top 100 NFL Network projection for players – voted on by fellow players – that put Peterson behind journeyman RB Justin Forsett.
Coincidence? Don’t bet on it.
The claims of longevity combined with production have surfaced again.
“It’s a good number,” the 32-year-old Peterson said when asked about playing five more years. “Approaching 40.”
As he has gotten older and has to work harder behind the scenes to maintain his athletic dominance, Peterson has spit in the eye of Father Time. What has applied to just about everyone else, doesn’t apply to A.D.
All Day means all day.
“I’d be lying to you say it doesn’t give you a chip [on your shoulder]. Especially being a competitor," Peterson said, according to the New Orleans Advocate. "It’s not my main focus. It’s something that drives you a little bit. After 30, because it was the same back then. ‘Oh, he’s 30.’ Then I ended up leading the league in 2015. Same thing the next year. Stuff will continue to repeat itself until I finish.”
History will remember Peterson in the conversation as G.O.A.T. among running backs.
As one can presumably think, Paul Bunyan moved on from Minnesota. So did the stories associated with him – tall tales that included some truth to them, but legends that are difficult to quantify.
In New Orleans, a city that is no stranger to larger-than-life characters, Peterson’s predictions and prognoses have found a new audience unfamiliar with the outrageous claims that have become so familiar to Vikings fans.
Welcome to the Big Easy, Adrian, where everything old is suddenly new again.