Adrian Peterson

Peterson illustrates why cycle of violence needs to end

I don't think I was ever spanked as a child, certainly never with a belt or some type of external object. I think my parents would make grandiose threats in which they would brandish their open hand, but these were typically to no avail. When my father once resorted to taking away my playthings, my retort —so they tell me— was asking why, if I had been bad, my toys should be the ones getting punished?

If you are confused as to why, exactly, this should be relevant, you are not alone. Last week, Adrian Peterson, a native of eastern Texas and running back for the Minnesota Vickings football team, was arrested for causing harm to a child, after it came to light that he mercilessly beat his toddler with a tree branch (switch) as a form of discipline. Commentators and pundits galore came to his defense, or at least to the defense of physical discipline against children, with tales of their own light beatings at a young age.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley particularly got in hot water when he insinuated that the form of tough love, involving tree branches applied to bare bottoms, was inherently linked to African-American upbringings. Others have, neutral of race, tried to ascribe the behavior to traditional Eastern Texas values.

The trouble with these types of overgeneralizations is that the insinuation is not necessarily that being beaten as a child prompts a more moral or better-rounded adult. Rather, it is merely to justify the continuation of a cycle of violence. Peterson's grandpa hit his dad, so his dad hit him, etc. One does not have to think about this argument very long to see the inherent flaws in its logic.

Adrian Peterson's son is four years old. Perhaps I'm an exception to the rule, but I do not remember a single thing about that early stage of my life. I certainly do not remember any arguments I had with my parents or errors on my part that would prompt punishment. I doubt Peterson's son with either. What he, sadly, likely will remember is pain and suffering and anger.

Horwitz is an associate editor.

Gifts Adrian Peterson should have given his offensive line

After Adrian Peterson’s nearly record-shattering 2012 rushing campaign, one can’t help but feel a little disappointed about his effort so far this year. While he has put together a solid showing so far, his numbers pale in comparison to last year’s.

It’s hard to complain with a player like Peterson — even his slightly disappointing numbers this year would be a dream for most other running backs in the NFL. But yet, here we are — after last season’s incredible performance coming off an ACL tear, we were hoping for a little bit more.

Maybe it’s not all Peterson’s fault. The Vikings have only a single win on the season, and he has very little help on the offensive side of the ball. It has come to the point where Peterson is nearly the only threat coming out of the Minnesota offense. 

But Peterson is a loving, generous person, so despite the team’s struggles this far — and despite his 13 carries for 28 yards in his last game against the lowly New York Giants — Peterson got his entire offensive line snowmobiles as a thank-you for their help during last year’s campaign.

With the O-line’s struggles so far this year (how hard is it to clear a path for a human rushing machine like Peterson?), here are some other gifts that might have suited them better.

 

•    New cleats. Maybe lack of traction is the reason the O-line can’t plug holes for Peterson.

•    Peterson’s own ACL rehab regimen. Whatever it was that turned Peterson into the NFL’s version of the Incredible Hulk would probably be helpful for anybody.

•    The ability to walk on water. Who cares about football?  Give the game up and show off this trick taught to you by the man who is adoringly called “Purple Jesus” by his fans.

•    A new razor blade. I mean, look at these guys.

You know what? Better yet, stop giving them gifts altogether. Who in the world has a better job than Peterson’s offensive line? The fact that Peterson is always behind them making them look good is a greater gift than anyone could ever need.

Rookie QB's Light Defenses Up In Thrilling Fashion

In this all or nothing, make or break fantasy football world that we live in, the difference between victory and defeat often comes down to a single player.  With their teams and fantasy owners alike in need of touchdowns late in the game, a couple rookie quarterbacks led the way in comeback victories:

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Luck had yet another huge game for the Colts on Sunday, throwing for 391 yards and four touchdowns, including one as time expire that gave the Colts a 35-33 win over the Detroit Lions.  Although he did throw three interceptions, he was able to pile up more than enough yardage and scores to overcome his mistakes.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

In a game that many people, including myself, believed he would struggle, Wilson had possibly his best game as a professional, passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns and running for another 71 yards against a very tough Chicago defense.  Like Luck’s, a late touchdown pass boosted Wilson’s fantasy performance, as he threw a thirteen-yard score to Sydney Rice in overtime.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Though the Vikings lost to the Green Bay Packers 14-23, Peterson did all he could to rally his team, racking up 210 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. After returning from an ACL tear he suffered late last year the former Oklahoma Sooner continues to exceed expectations this season, rushing for 100-plus yards for the sixth straight game.  

When Bob Stoops snatched Adrian Peterson out of East Texas in 2004, it set in motion a precedent that Mack Brown couldn’t quite shirk: Stoops and Oklahoma owned Texas, not only on the gridiron, but also on the recruiting trail.

The numbers don’t lie. For the better part of the last decade, homeland security has been a bit of an embarrassment for Brown. In 2004, he lost out on Peterson, the top-rated player that year according to Rivals, and Rhett Bomar, the top quarterback in the nation. Both from Texas, both headed to Oklahoma. In 2005, Stoops again poached a couple of highly rated players out from under Brown’s nose, notably Malcolm Kelly, a future NFL draft pick.

But 2008, most would agree, was the low point. Brown and Texas lost the top three players in the state to those Sooners, and a year later, in 2009, they lost the nasty recruiting battle for Lufkin’s Jamarkus McFarland, now a starting defensive tackle for Oklahoma.

Need more proof? From 2004 to this year’s class, forty seven percent of Oklahoma’s signed commits hailed from Texas. Sheesh, get your own state.

But things have improved. Not only has Texas been able to defend its home turf better, fighting off Oklahoma for Plano West’s Jackson Jeffcoat last year, but Mack has also served Stoops a taste of his
own medicine.

With Wednesday’s signing of Oklahoma’s top ranked player, cornerback Josh Turner, Texas has now signed the best player from the state of Oklahoma the past two years. Last year, it was the heralded Demarco Cobbs, who figures to see an increased role at safety this fall. If and when Cobbs and Turner team up in the secondary, they’d give Texas’ defensive backfield a strong Oklahoma flavor.

How has Mack done it? Simple. His teams started showing up in Dallas. The Longhorns’ five-game slide to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry created the notion that Texas was soft, that they were weak, that they had no chance of ever winning a Big 12 title or national title if they couldn’t even get past the Sooners in so many tries. Frankly, it was true. That’s why Peterson chose Oklahoma, saying at the time that he wanted to win a national title and didn’t think it was possible at Texas.

So Mack rallied the troops and beat the Sooners in Dallas 45-12 en route to the Longhorns’ 2005 National Championship. The next year, Texas beat Oklahoma again. They’ve swung the tide of the Red River Rivalry to their favor recently, despite this past season’s loss.

Furthermore, Mack’s taken back Texas. While Oklahoma did sign 12 prospects from our state this year (out of 17 total commits), only one of them was offered by Texas. Inviting high school juniors to the annual February junior days and extending quick scholarship offers has helped Brown seal the deal on several prized recruits before Stoops has a chance to do the same. It’s clear that these days, Stoops is getting the Lone Star leftovers.

When asked how Texas was able to draw him out of Oklahoma, Turner’s answer was simple.

“Texas knows how to recruit, that’s it,” he said. “The players and the coaches; they’re all great.”

And they’ll all welcome Turner with open arms, thankful that after so many years, they finally have the upper hand on their rivals from the north.