Adrian Peterson may have just missed the single-season rushing record, but the Minnesota Vikings running back may get a consolation — a gold medal from the Olympics.
The speedster running back told In Depth with Graham Bensinger that he wants to start running track so he can qualify for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. It may sound like a stretch, but for a player who just came back from a devastating injury to nearly break the rushing record, nothing seems too far off.
“I feel like I can stand up to any challenge,” Adrian Peterson said. “I know a lot of people laugh and be like ‘come on, let’s be real with yourself — it’s Usain Bolt,’ but I feel like you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
Peterson went into Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers needing 208 yards to beat Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, but ended the game with 199. But personal accolades aside, Peterson led the Vikings to a victory and a spot in the playoffs, where they’ll again meet the Packers.
Adrian Peterson seems serious about his quest to qualify for the Olympics, USA Today notes. He plans to compete in the Penn Relays to see where he stands against other top runners. “I want to test the waters and see what I can do,” Peterson said, adding that he’d like to run the 200 or 400 in the 2016 Olympics.
There could be obstacles to Adrian Peterson’s Olympic quest, USA Today notes:
“The track and NFL success of Bob Hayes, James Jett and Michael Bates could be inspirations to Peterson, but there are major differences between those Olympians and Peterson. They were all young men and fresh off college track careers when they competed in the Games. Their NFL future was still ahead of them. Peterson will be 31 years old in 2016 and hasn’t run competitively since high school.
“As a result, his Olympic dream will likely remain just that. If Peterson ever had a chance to become a world-class sprinter, that time has long past. Then again, no one thought a man coming back from an ACL injury could challenge the single-season rushing record just 12 months later.”
Though the odds may seem long, if Adrian Peterson can nearly single-handedly bring an otherwise mediocre Vikings team to the playoffs, maybe the 2016 Olympics won’t be such a stretch.