Peterson, Vikings host Special Olympians

Adrian Peterson said he is concentrating on football more this offseason, but the running back still found time and plenty of enjoyment in helping about 50 Special Olympians with a Punt, Pass and Kick Competition at Winter Park.

One of the charitable causes that holds a strong place in the heart of Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson is the Special Olympics. Since joining the Vikings, Peterson and several of his teammates helped athletes who had the dream of meeting an NFL superstar.

Peterson, along with teammates Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian, Heath Farwell, Jeff Dugan, Otis Grisby, Garrett Mills, Taylor Mehlhaff, Marcus Walker and Roderick Rogers, staged a Punt, Pass and Kick competition and everyone got an "All Day" t-shirt autographed by those players and several more as part of festivities.

Peterson said the event is as much a pleasure for him as it is for the Olympians he inspires.

"It means a lot," Peterson said of the event. "I was able to participate last year and actually my first year I came out with Tony Richardson and we had a great time. Being out here last year, it's a time that the kids will always remember. We can come out, me and a lot of other guys, and just enjoy ourselves. It's fun."
Peterson, who admitted he was asked more than once about the potential of Brett Favre signing with the Vikings, said he fielded a ton of questions about the X's and O's of playing professional football.

"They ask questions about technique and different things like that, like throwing the ball," Peterson said. "So we're just out here doing our jobs, giving instruction as far as what we do on the field and help them do better when we do this punt, pass and kick. Teach them different techniques and make sure they apply it when they go out there and do it."

Peterson said that the participants aren't the only ones who take something positive away from annual event. A.D. said he has learned from the experience as well, as the courage of the young athletes serve as a source of inspiration.

"Yeah, just the competitiveness," Peterson said. "The kids out here are so competitive and that's something that puts things in perspective with a lot of guys. I know it did with me. I can speak for myself. So when I see them come out here and they are trying to throw the ball as far as they can and kicking the ball as hard as they can and really competing, that's what it's all about."

Peterson and the athletes weren't alone in enjoying the day. Many of Peterson's teammates came away from the experience with smiles that were hard to contain.

"We like to come out here with them and throw the ball, watch them kick it," Rice said after the PP&K competition. "It's exciting for them, so that makes them even happier."

While the business of playing professional football is getting closer by the day as OTAs transform into minicamps then training camp and finally the 2009 regular season, Wednesday was a chance for the players to provide a memorable day in the lives of many disadvantaged boys, girls, men and women that they will never forget.


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