I recently sat down with the Vikings' Adrian Peterson at his Minnesota home. The interview is for a new episode of In Depth. The star running back discusses his difficult childhood, touching specifically on the tragic deaths of two of his brothers and the imprisonment of his father. He explains why he vowed to come back stronger than before following his career threatening injury at the end of last season. Peterson opens up for the first time about his July arrest. Also, Peterson tells about his surprising plans to compete in the 2016 Olympics.
Peterson what breaking Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record would mean to him: "It would mean a lot...and just coming off the injury that I suffered last December and to have - me having the type of season that I'm having, it would even add more to it to surpass 2000 and break his record. I think it's time for that record to be replaced anyways, and so we'll see what happens. I'm shooting for it. I can tell you that." Peterson then tells what he thinks his chances are: "I've got a higher chance. In my mind, it's already broke." When asked what his goals are, Peterson states simply and almost nonchalantly: "Just do be the best player to ever play the game." Watch clip:
In July of 2012, Peterson was arrested and charged with resisting arrest at a Houston, Texas, nightclub. While all charges were later dropped, Peterson tells if he believes he did anything wrong: "...the only thing that I felt I did wrong, I could have handled differently was the way I spoke to the officer." Peterson then details exactly what he says happened that night beginning with when the nightclub was closing: "Officer comes back around, and he says, 'Everyone gets - everyone get the F out of the club.' I'm walking towards the exit. The officer is tagging behind us taunting me, saying different stuff. ... 'I don't give an F who you are. Get the out of the club.' And I remember turning back, and I was like, 'F you.' And I took like two or three more steps, and someone just grabbed me from behind and tried to take me down to the ground, just attacked out of nowhere, no rights or, 'Put your hands behind your back.' In the report, it says that, 'Mr. Peterson shoved me. I turned around. Mr. Peterson shoved me in my back.' Who shoves a police officer in full uniform in the back, first off? Only a coward would do something like that." Watch clip:
During his July 2012 arrest, Peterson says: "During the arrest, I got punched in the face twice. ... I had a black eye, lips was swollen." Peterson continues, "Some of the spectators that was around, they had video cameras out, and they was videotaping what took place. And the officer .... was like, 'Wow. I done punched this guy in the face. It's people over there screaming, 'We got this on video. We got this recorded,' so I just can't let this man go because, if this footage leak then I'm just in big trouble.' So that's how - that's why I sat there for two hours, and they came up with this resisting arrest charge and ended up booking me on that." Watch clip:
Peterson is asked about a comment he made regarding a possible race with Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt: "Yeah, I feel like I can stand up to any challenge. I know a lot of people laugh at me and be like, 'Okay, come on, now, just be real with yourself.'" When Bensinger reminds Peterson that Bolt set the world record in the 100 meter dash, he replies: "He did, but I told myself, hey, I want to try out for the Olympics for the 200 and the 400. That's something that - that's a goal of mine that I want to accomplish." Peterson says he wants to try to compete in the 2016 Olympics: "Before I tore my ACL, I was going to go to a couple of track meets and run unattached and just see where I was at, get some meets under my belt or whatnot, but unfortunately, I hurt my knee. But now that I'm back and refreshed, I think I'm going to give it a shot still." Watch clip:
At age thirteen, Peterson's mother had to break the news to him that his father was going to prison: "I remember my mom walking in, closing the door and was saying, 'I need to talk to you. It's about your dad.'... and I just remember I just started crying." Without the supervision of his father, Peterson lost motivation and began slacking off in school. There was an incident with marijuana that resulted in Peterson being expelled from school: "My first time ever trying marijuana, I actually brought some to school, a little joint...And me and my friend, one of my best friends at the time, we went into school early before school started and went in the bathroom and took one hit. As we came out of the bathroom, security was coming. ...They confronted us about it ....and took us down to juvenile, tested - ran the test and we both failed and ended up missing out on a whole year of school." Watch clip:
Because of his rigorous workouts, Peterson feels comfortable eating junk food. He has been known to eat Spam, Ramen Noodles, brownies, Sardines, and ice cream. "I'm able to get away with eating brownies and ice cream and stuff like that because I burn a lot of calories, but I really - my diet is really not that good. ....I just grew up eating candy, and Skittles is my favorite candy. ....Little Debbie brownies. You scraped up 25 pennies, 27 plus tax, you got you a Little Debbie cake to work with, so I did a lot of that." Watch clip:
When Peterson was seven years old, he witnessed his older brother, Brian, being struck by a drunk driver: "...that happened at such a young age and seeing it happen...it's a memory that I will never lose. Running up, putting my hands on his head, calling his name and, as he lay there, head swollen like three times bigger than normal." Peterson admits that the death of his brother made him a stronger person, even at such a young age: "For years, it seems like my mom cried every night, every night, and there was times I have to just hold my tears in, at the age of seven, and go in and comfort her, hug her, kiss her. It's going to be okay. Just be strong for her...try to be a rock for her, and I think going through that - it made me strong." Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson explains why he is going to be definitely purchasing a gun. Watch clip:
Peterson describes his knee injury against the Redskins in the last game of the 2011 season: "...once I took the hit, I knew. I knew my ACL was out...I felt three pops and just the way my knee got caved in from the side, I knew my ACL was gone, and once I got into the locker room, that's when they informed me that it was ACL, MCL and like a little damage to the cartilage." Asked what he thought his chances were of coming back with the same explosiveness, Peterson replied: "I told myself, actually sitting on that table, my daddy came in, and I told him, I said, 'You know what?' I said, 'I'm going to come back better than I was before.'" Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson tells about growing up with athletically gifted parents. His father could have played in the NBA and his mom could have run in the Olympics. Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson tells about the skills he has developed that make him great. Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson explains the personal significance of his $100 million dollar contract, given his tough childhood. Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson tells about making the decision to donate one million dollars. Watch clip:
Adrian Peterson gives a mini tour of his house. Watch clip:
Graham Bensinger's Facebook page is facebook.com/GrahamBensinger and his website is GrahamBensinger.com. Follow Graham on Twitter @GrahamBensinger. Email Graham at Graham@TheGBShow.com.