On Thursday, he was not only testing out his torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee while participating in practice on a limited basis. Peterson was also part of a $10,000 presentation from Federal Express to the University of Minnesota's Children's Hospital, a donation made possible because of Peterson twice being named the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. And finally on Thursday, a Peterson video that he filmed in October was one of many that debuted on the NFL's web site.
The rookie running back is one of two Vikings that survived the cutting-room floor in an NFL-sponsored contest where fans can decided which NFL player's story should be made into an ad that will be played during the Super Bowl.
Fans submitted their ideas for a similar contest last year, but this year the players were the ones putting their stories on videotape, following the theme of when they knew they had arrived in the league. The Vikings had a dozen players submit their stories – C Matt Birk, LB Ben Leber, G Steve Hutchinson, P Chris Kluwe, LB Chad Greenway, K Ryan Longwell, T Bryant McKinnie, RB Adrian Peterson, FB Tony Richardson, DE Brian Robison, S Dwight Smith and DT Kevin Williams. Peterson and Richardson's stories were the two from the team that made the cut. Voting for those stories is now taking place at superad.nfl.com/vote.
Click here for Peterson's video or click here for Richardon's video.
"It was just a story that I had told about a fan and just a different experience of being in the NFL," Peterson said on Wednesday, but he didn't want to give away the story until it went live online. Now it has.
In the video, Peterson told the story of going to a restaurant with his brother Derrick and Vikings rookie wide receiver Sidney Rice. When the group was leaving the restaurant, a man came running after them and wanted Peterson to meet his wife, with the man claiming that his wife loved Peterson more than she loved her husband.
After giving his autograph to them, having his picture taken with the woman and receiving numerous compliments, Peterson figured he would test the man's story.
"Jokingly, I said, ‘You know your husband was sitting here saying how much you love me. You might as well just come with me. She said, ‘OK, let's go.' Just the look on her husband's face. I'm sitting there in my head thinking to myself, I don't know if she's really … for you because she was just really about to leave you and come home with me."
Sidney Rice was asked about the story on Thursday and couldn't recall the exact incident because "it happens so much it's crazy," he said.
Richardson told an equally entertaining story of being an NFL undrafted rookie and making it with the Kansas City Chiefs. When the Chiefs pulled into Oakland to play the the division rival Raiders, Richardson saw an elderly woman in a wheelchair rolling alongside the Chiefs' team bus. Richardson expected her to wave, but instead he got the bird from the woman that he estimated to be about 90 years old. "That's what the National Football League is all about," Richardson said.
The backfield tandem is also making their mark in Pro Bowl voting. Peterson leads all NFL running backs with 457,426 Pro Bowl votes. Richardson leads all NFC fullbacks with 117,596 votes.
BACK ON THE FIELD
Peterson's off-the-field smile and charisma wouldn't have nearly the impact if he was just another player, but he's not. He's the NFL's leading rusher and likely to be named the Rookie of Year. But he needs to get back into game action, something that is expected to take place on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
"I have been out there running pretty good, really cutting good with the brace and everything and it feels good," Peterson said Thursday.
While he appears to be making all the cuts in practice, it may take him getting into a game to know how it will really respond.
"You can say that, as far as just really being out there and taking full contact, just being hit and getting hit in the knee with the brace on and everything," he said. "But as far as I am concerned when I am out here practicing I am going to look at it like it's a game as far as going full speed, cutting. I am going to try everything out to see how it feels, so that is the best I can do."
Peterson is averaging 120.1 yards per game and running back Chester Taylor has averaged 120.5 yards in each of the last two games he has started while Peterson was out.
OFF THE FIELD
Off the field, Peterson's NFL journey is just starting, too. He has signed an endorsement deal with Qwest that is expected to incorporate a charitable element to it as well because Qwest is the title sponsor of the Vikings' Community Tuesday programs. Still, even before his deal with Qwest, Peterson has been doing everything that Brad Madson, the team's executive director of community relations/youth football, has been asking.
"Adrian, since he has come to the team, has helped me out off the field with Special Olympics Minnesota, the African American Adoption Agency that he is going to be hosting, St. Joseph's Home for Children, and he has always been there for his teammates with their community programs," Madson said. "Off the field, he has helped me a ton."
On the field, Peterson's 200-yard performances against the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers were the driving force behind FedEx's donation to the University of Minnesota's Children's Hospital.
"I definitely feel honored to be able to help the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital out, knowing that the performance on the field, the whole offense has been able to provide the Children's Hospital with $10,000," Peterson said. "That definitely feels good knowing that it's an award given back to the community. That right there is definitely important. I definitely love to give back to the community, especially the kids, holiday time, so it couldn't be going at a better time than now."
Peterson said he is getting his own foundation started that will have a broad focus, but children's causes will likely be one of the focuses.
For the Lions, DE Ikaika Alama-Francis (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday.