by Nathan Villasenor
On Thursday, October 2, the Minnesota Vikings suffered a demoralizing defeat on the road against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The final score of 42-10 reflected the obvious offensive troubles that the Vikings have been having so far this season. Christian Ponder was a quarterback of questionable production, his stat line for that night reflecting a 50% completion rating off of 44 attempts. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been an interesting gem, when healthy, and if nothing else, he might offer a helping hand in a comeback campaign. They seem to be on an entirely different page with second-year wideout Cordarelle Patterson, who analysts were hailing as a breakout-season candidate in the offseason. All other receivers seem to have consistency issues as well, but let’s face it: Minnesota hasn’t exactly been a pass-happy team for the past seven years; since 2007, the Vikings have only recorded six more passing touchdowns than rushing touchdowns. In a statistic that could potentially include players of every offensive position, an overwhelming 64% of all rushing touchdowns for the Vikings since 2007 fall on the shoulders of one man: Adrian Peterson.
That Peterson could be the centerpiece of an organization for seven years, owning the franchise records for most single-season rushing yards (2,097) and most rushing touchdowns (86) as well as earning the credential of “highest-paid running back in NFL history” with his $96 million contract is an overwhelming credit. A credit that may well have been tainted by the recent domestic violence and child abuse allegations against Peterson that have surfaced this fall, potentially ending his 2014-2015 season and indefinitely changing the “crowd favorite” status that he has gained throughout his seven years.
On Saturday, September 12, Peterson was booked and released from a jail in Texas on a child abuse charge. The accusation at hand was that Peterson had beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as a form of punishment for disobeying Peterson. A roller coaster of league-based political events ensued, including Peterson’s deactivation, reactivation, second deactivation, and eventual placement on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list until the legal issues are solved.
Peterson hasn’t denied the charges against him, and recently text messages from him to the mother of his child have surfaced from CBS Local in which he states, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggest heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.” While he seems to be content in passing off his “non-overboard” actions as simple discipline, one has to question the exact extent of what he considers discipline and whether or not he understands the potential residual damage, whether physical or psychological, that has been left on that child. It’s no secret that Peterson is a tremendous athlete and one of the most powerful running backs to ever play in the NFL; that in mind, it is easy to imagine how much aggressiveness he could carry out in his “simple discipline”.
A recent development states that Peterson’s tentative trial date has been set for December 1, 2015. Unfortunately for him, he could not stay out of trouble in the interim. On October 9, the D.A. organized a court order for the arrest of Peterson, as he also admitted to “smok[ing] a little weed” before his initial urine test. Despite this complication, Peterson has opted to plead “not guilty” in his domestic violence allegations as of Tuesday, October 14.
Peterson certainly isn’t the only NFL player in hot water due to recent domestic disputes, however. The face of domestic violence belonged to another NFL player just a few weeks earlier: Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
Sources: Chicago Tribune, CBS Houston
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