Peterson donates jersey from record-setting game to Hall
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson handed in his uniform Thursday.
Minnesota's record-setting rookie running back hasn't quite given up on his promising career, considering a knee injury that will keep him off the field at least for this week. Peterson, rather, had a present for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He donated the purple No. 28 jersey and white pants he wore earlier this month while rushing for an NFL-record 296 yards for the Vikings in a victory over the San Diego Chargers.
The uniform has been guarded by the team's equipment staff since the game on Nov. 4. When Peterson said it was never washed, Joe Horrigan, a representative from the Hall of Fame, feigned disgust as he held the jersey next to him. Horrigan was headed back to Canton, Ohio, where the shrine to Peterson's accomplishment was scheduled to be on display starting Friday.
"The magnitude of what Adrian did on that day is really amazing, and you think about the fact that he is a young rookie and what that must mean for the future," Horrigan said.
Peterson has never been to Canton himself, but he plans to visit soon with his family.
"You just look for the future and expect bigger things to come and envision maybe one day, God's will, that I will be in the Hall of Fame itself," Peterson said.
The seventh overall draft pick out of Oklahoma had 1,036 yards rushing in the first half of the season before tearing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee last week against the Green Bay Packers. That caused Peterson to fall off pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie record of 1,808 yards in 1983.
He sighed when the talk turned to the time he's spending in the training room.
"Like all day, literally," Peterson said.
He refused, however, to express regret that the injury will keep his season statistics from soaring as high as they would have if he didn't get hurt.
"It's not going to change, so no reason to hold your head down and pout about it," Peterson said.
While the Vikings (3-6) have not declared a timetable for his return, they've promised him back this season despite their essential elimination from playoff contention. There's no rush, though, to come back too soon for the sake of records.
"Just being smart about it," Peterson said.
In return for his uniform, Horrigan gave Peterson a black hat and gray shirt bearing the Hall's insignia. Before answering questions from the media about this honor, Peterson proudly set the hat on the podium in front of him. It looked like a get-well-soon gift, given his current status.
But Peterson didn't need to be cheered up. He also learned Thursday that he currently leads his position in fan voting for the Pro Bowl. He's sixth overall behind Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Tony Romo.
With the same kid-in-a-candy-store expression, Peterson eagerly entertained the "dream-come-true" possibility of getting picked to play in football's all-star game. The rosters, determined equally by votes of fans, players and coaches, will be revealed Dec. 18.
Peterson hesitated for a moment, joking about the potential responsibility for a Pro Bowl running back.
"I might be out a lot of money if that happens," he said, smiling. "I'm pretty sure the O-linemen or some of those guys would like to tag along, too."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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