Peterson endured notable traumatic moments as a child: At age 7, he watched his older brother, Brian, get killed by a drunk driver; six years later, his dad was arrested for money laundering in connection with drug dealing. As a result, Peterson experienced anger, but learned to channel it into sports. He played basketball and ran track at Palestine High School, but clearly was at his best on the football field. Peterson rushed for 2,960 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior running back, winning National Player of the Year honors from numerous outlets, and committed to play at the University of Oklahoma.
Peterson sat out four games during his sophomore year with a high ankle sprain, and missed another seven the following season with a broken collarbone before declaring himself eligible for the 2007 National Football League draft. The night before Peterson's scheduled NFL scouting-combine workout, tragedy struck again when his half brother, Chris, was fatally shot in Houston. Despite his loss, Peterson performed well for would-be NFL employers, but questions remained about his injury history. He eventually was selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Peterson led all running backs with 1,760 yards in 2008 and 18 touchdowns in '09, but that season ended in bitter fashion with his multiple fumbles in the NFL Championship Game loss to the New Orleans Saints. After a relatively quiet 2010 season, Peterson endured a nightmare finish to 2011 when he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.
Peterson underwent surgery on December 30, 2011, and was relentless in his rehabilitation. Despite earlier predictions that he would miss at least half of the 2012 NFL season, he not only made it back for opening day, but also wound up mounting a serious challenge to Eric Dickerson's 28-year-old single-season record of 2,105 rushing yards.Comeback Season
Peterson began a string of eight straight 100-yard rushing games in Week 7, topping the 200-yard mark in two of the final three games of that stretch. Entering the final game of the season, he needed to gain 208 yards against the Green Bay Packers to surpass Dickerson's mark. Peterson finished the day with 199, leaving him just short of the record, but his 26-yard run late in the fourth quarter set up a game-winning field goal that propelled Minnesota into the playoffs.
Peterson was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player for his efforts. Afterward, it was revealed that the superstar running back had played much of the second half with a painful sports hernia, making the accomplishments of his amazing comeback season even more impressive.