Adrian Peterson broke the single-game rushing record in 2007. He nearly broke the single-season rushing record last year on his way to becoming the NFL MVP in 2012.
But Peterson’s greatest accomplishment? He says it’s being the newest cover body on the Wheaties box.
“I remember always being told, ‘Always make sure you eat your Wheaties’ so it would make you strong or give you the things you need to go out there and perform, so I always used to eat them,” Peterson said Tuesday at Vikings training camp. “And I always used to tell myself, someday, hey, I want to be on the cover of the Wheaties box. It’s pretty cool, man. Seriously, it’s the accomplishment I walk around and I’m proud of.”
In 2007, Peterson set the single-game rushing mark with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Last year, he had 2,097 yards rushing, coming up eight yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record, but Peterson also added league MVP to his mantle, among many other accomplishments, while coming off surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee in December 2011.
He has said his goal is to break Emmitt Smith’s all-time career rushing record in about four years, but there is another legend of the NFL that he remembers getting on a Wheaties box when he was young.
“You always got the classic Walter Payton box,” Peterson said, recalling another speedster from his formative years on the box, too. “Michael Johnson because I was big on track as well. Seeing him on the cover, I just remember that.”
Peterson competed in track and basketball as well as football at Palestine (Texas) High School, where he broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark in football as a junior and senior.
“The guy is amazing, right? He deserves it,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “He’s a great teammate and a great guy. He deserves everything he gets. We couldn’t be happier to have him as a representative of our team and obviously the league feels the same way. It couldn’t happen to a better guy.”
He said Wheaties (and Fruit Loops) were his favorite cereals growing up. He supplemented his Wheaties with bananas (for those looking for that Adrian Peterson “breakfast of champions” garnishing).
“Being on the front cover of Wheaties? Man, that’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments,” he said. “Growing up and seeing some of my heroes being put on the cover of Wheaties, now seeing myself as the face, it’s amazing. It feels good.
“The phrase is always, ‘Make sure you eat your Wheaties’ and that’s something I grew up hearing from my mom and you just had it in your mind that Wheaties will help you get strong, help get you through the day. So that’s something I think about now that I’m on the front of it. I think about all those memories and now, bam, I’m on the front. It’s pretty cool.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.