TheGrio’s 100: Adrian Peterson, explosive Vikings running back

TheGrio's 100 - Adrian Peterson runs on sacred ground...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Adrian Peterson runs on sacred ground. What makes him all the more impressive is the meager time and space it’s taken him to arrive at stardom. The Minnesota Vikings’ fast-rising star is all about speed and explosion, as is the rapidly-evolving nature of Peterson’s growing legend.

Peterson seems to be able to steer clear of letting the buzz go to his head as well as he avoids tacklers on the field. But the buzz well-deserved when you consider that as an NFL rookie, he rushed for more than 200 yards twice, becoming just the 21st player in league history to do so, and the first since Jim Brown heydays along the banks of Lake Erie.

Those who know him best are the first to acknowledge his abilities. “He has a kind of intrinsic drive you don’t often see, not even among athletes,” Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said of the man he coached to a spot as a finalist for the 2004 Heisman Trophy.

Peterson’s motivation seems endless, and his style has earned him the nickname A.D. (All Day) among teammates. The 6’1”, 217-pound dynamo has dedicated his career to honoring the memories of his two brothers who lost their lives to violence just as the Peterson was rising to forge a better existence for all of them.

“Resilience is what I’m all about now,” says Peterson. “Football allows me to take out some pain. I just put in my mind I’m playing for my family.”