Adrian Peterson wants more than a record, more than an MVP award. He is an athlete with a cause.
He wants to revive the rep of the running back, saving the position from the irrelevancy of a third-party candidate. Other recent-vintage backs have staged strong campaigns on the field, but Peterson built himself a platform and high-stepped into partisanship.
“The MVP, man, that's something that I've always wanted to grab,’’ he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune a few weeks ago. “I work hard. I want to be the best player to play this game, so with that, MVP awards come. But I know this league and how it is, man. They're kind of biased to the quarterback, which is unfortunate. They make it hard for other players to win it, but I will.’’
“Kind of biased”? We’re all hypnotized, under a spell. We need to watch Peterson this Sunday not just because he has a chance to break Eric Dickerson’s 28-year-old single-season rushing record, or because his Vikings might beat Green Bay and make the playoffs after a 3-13 season, or even because his recovery from ripped knee ligaments pushes the NFL ever deeper into the realm of science fiction.
We need to watch to be deprogrammed.