Vikings' decision in '07 to look past Peterson's injury looks genius now
Given the likelihood that Minnesota Vikings running back
It's the breezy and politically correct answer now, particularly if Peterson happens to read or hear it, for it suggests that the swift yet punishing back already likened by SI's
As talented and drool-worthy as Peterson was coming out of Oklahoma that spring, there was a looming durability issue. Each of his last two seasons had been shortened by injuries; a high-ankle sprain as a sophomore, followed by a broken collarbone on a jubilant dive into the end zone the following year. That made some scouts wonder if Peterson ever would approach the numbers he put up with the Sooners -- 4,045 rushing yards, 747 carries, 41 touchdowns -- as a pro.
"The biggest thing with Adrian coming out was the collarbone concerns,'' Spielman said. "I don't think it was anything with the ability part, but it was, 'Coming in, are you going to have to have surgery for him right away? Is that collarbone going to break the first time he gets hit in the preseason?' Those are all the 'if' factors that you're gambling on a little bit.''
The Vikings might have been inclined, too, to stick one of their draft-board "red dots'' on Peterson for character concerns, if going solely by his father Nelson's eight-year term in prison for dealing drugs. But they were convinced by research and direct contact that wasn't passed via DNA -- Minnesota running backs coach
Eventually, the Vikings also got over any medical doubts, both from his past or potential ones in his future suggested by the tailback's upright, hit-seeking running style.
"[Durability] wasn't an issue as far as I was concerned,'' sniffed senior consultant and "trainer for life''
"Gut feeling,'' is how Spielman described the organization's final verdict. "Sometimes it's just a gut feeling. And we do everything where it's fully discussed. Myself and Brad [Childress, Vikings head coach], we'll sit down and go through, 'Are we willing to take the risk or not?' And if we are, and that's what's best for the Minnesota Vikings, that's what we'll do.''
All that was left, then, was for Peterson to last long enough. The first four selections that day were quarterback
"Once he got past Arizona,'' Spielman said, "Washington was No. 6 and we were calculating that they didn't need a running back because they had [
There are those who will tell you that the Vikings would have taken Landry themselves, if the Redskins had passed. Of course, neither Spielman nor Vikings owner
What's not to like, given Peterson's 3,101 rushing yards in two seasons (including a league-best 201,760 in 2008), his 23 touchdowns, the NFL-record 296 yards he ran for as a rookie against San Diego, and his charisma and spotless off-field record.
The only sweaty palms lately in picking Adrian Peterson (or not) came Friday, when he was one of nine finalists vying to be named cover guy of the