Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson could be on the cusp of bringing home a lot of hardware for the remarkable season he’s put together coming off a torn ACL last year.
Peterson is among the favorites to win the most valuable player, offensive player of the year and comeback player of the year awards at season’s end. With one game to go in the regular season, Peterson has rushed for 1,898 yards and 11 touchdowns. Peterson needs 102 yards to become the seventh back in league history to reach the 2,000 yard plateau and 208 yards to catch Eric Dickerson for the single-season rushing record.
Yet Peterson may be seeking an even greater award down the road: an Olympic medal.
In an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Peterson said he wants to attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in track. He hopes to join the likes of Bob Hayes, James Jett and Michael Bates as people able to play in the NFL and earn an Olympic medal.
Peterson said he was planning on making a run at the Olympics before he injured his knee last year. He had planned on running in a few track meets over the off-season to see how he felt running track again. Peterson said he wants to qualify for the Olympics in the 200- and 400-meter races.
“That’s a goal of mine that I want to accomplish,” Peterson said. “…Now that I’m back and refreshed, I think I’m going to give it a shot still.”
Peterson even feels he can take on Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who holds the world records in the 100- and 200-meter races.
“I feel like I can stand up to any challenge,” Peterson said. “I know a lot of people laugh and be like ‘come on, let’s be real with yourself.’ It’s Usain Bolt, but I feel like you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
Peterson said he’s thinking about attending the Penn Relays or another meet to “test the waters” and see how he fares against the competition.
While being able to beat Usain Bolt may be a wee bit far-fetched, the thought that he could make an Olympic team is not. After the recovery he’s had this year, it’s hard to say Adrian Peterson can’t do something that he puts his mind to.