A lot of players spend the offseason looking after only themselves. After the rigors of a full NFL season, you couldn’t blame them if they decided to take their off time to enjoy themselves. Adrian Peterson isn’t one of those players.
Peterson returned to Norman, Okla., over the weekend to conduct a fundraiser for his All Day Foundation. After the event, he sat down with Dean Blevins, sports director of OKBlitz.com, a website devoted to Sooners athletics. The full 12-minute interview can be heard HERE.
Peterson isn’t sitting idly by during his down time in the offseason. He is going to Uganda to do missionary work starting March 15. He will be joined on the trip by NFL players Tommie Harris, Roy Williams and Mark Clayton – all greats with the Oklahoma football program.
When asked about giving of himself for charity endeavors, Peterson said he realized in his teen years that he had the chance for a special life and, from that point on, felt like giving back.
“I’ve always dreamed about helping others,” Peterson said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Peterson also spoke candidly about his father Nelson. He said that, even when his father was going through hard times and spent time in prison, they remained very close. The interview also dealt with subjects like how he would assess his career in the NFL to date and what it feels like to be role model.
For a player of his stature, it would natural to accept that Peterson deserves some time to himself, but that isn’t how the Vikings running back is wired. There is no offseason when it comes to being a humanitarian.
Bryant McKinnie started the damage control process Monday, announcing on Twitter that he has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in both feet. He said in his tweet that he has to have both feet taped and take medicine to reduce the inflammation. Former Vikings player and coach Mike Tice was afflicted with plantar fasciitis during his playing days and said it is extremely painful and the only medical remedy is rest. Fortunately for McKinnie, the timing of the injury will allow to likely fully heal before the Vikings have their first postdraft minicamp.
One of the hot topics in the Chicago rumor mill is the potential of the Bears making a run at Chester Taylor. The team is very familiar with Taylor’s agent Ken Sarnoff, who used to be based out of Chicago. With a new Mike Martz-based offense being implemented, having a running back who can run, catch and, just as important, block to protect his quarterback (a painful by-product of the Martz offenses of years past) is paramount. While the team still has faith in Matt Forte despite a dismal season, the Taylor talk references comparisons to Marshall Faulk. While that might be a little steep, Taylor does have the versatility the Bears want and many in Chicago are still a little bitter that the Vikings made a jump at Bernard Berrian two years ago in the opening days of free agency in 2008.
In perhaps a bad sign that Taylor won’t be coming back, in the on-line version of the Minnesota Vikings Locker Room Store, Taylor throwback replica jerseys have been slashed from $80 to $39.95. The only other available jerseys at the discounted prices are Matt Birk and Darren Sharper, both of whom were allowed to leave via free agency last year. Coincidence? Let the conspiracy theories begin.
Back to the Chicago rumor mill, another former Viking may be in their plans. In an interview on ESPN Radio-Chicago, Sharper started his pre-free agency lecture circuit. He spoke glowingly of Lovie Smith and the Bears and said he could excel in their defensive scheme – pointing out, “I went to a Pro Bowl in a Cover-2 system in Minnesota and I feel like I’ve proven I can be successful in any system. Any defensive system you can play, I think I’ve played it and I think I’ve been pretty successful in doing it.”
One thing you can say about Sharp: he doesn’t lack for confidence in his skill set. Considering his postseason press conference in which he said the Vikings Cover-2 defense hindered his playmaking ability, he would seem to have changed his tune.
In one of the more interesting Combine coaching quotes of the week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked about his team’s shaky wide receiver corps and the name of Terrell Owens came up. T.O. was let go by Buffalo and will be available on the open market for another mercenary short-term contract. Harbaugh said the Ravens are interested in anyone who can make their team better and his recollection of Owens was as “a good guy and a good player” and somebody who was “respectful of the coaches and worked hard.” Brad Childress might have a bone to pick with that second statement, since he was the coach that was famously told by Owens to “speak to me only when spoken to.”
Don’t expect the Vikings to make a run at soon-to-be-released RB Thomas Jones. Jones was an outspoken critic of Favre late in their one year together with the Jets in 2008, saying Favre should have been benched late in the season and that his three interceptions in the season finale were his fault and killed the team’s playoff chances. Considering how the Vikings are bending over backwards to accommodate Favre, signing Jones wouldn’t be a positive step given their apparent bad blood.
TiVO reminder: Brett Favre will be a guest Thursday on “The Tonight Show” as Jay Leno makes his return to late-night TV this week. Don’t expect any earth-shattering announcements like a political candidate throwing his hat in the ring. In between the lame old-man jokes Leno is sure to spew out, it will be Vikings fans’ first chance to hear Favre speak to his future since his Bayou Beatdown.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to update owners on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale about the status of the labor negotiations. The two-day meeting of owners is a precursor to the owners meetings that begin March 21 in Orlando. While the owners enjoy their own version of spring break, the clock is ticking down to midnight EST Friday morning when the current collective bargaining agreement expires and the uncapped 2010 season begins.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.