Best of 2007: Adrian Peterson's Dazzling Debut

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Best of 2007: Adrian Peterson's Dazzling Debut
His father is a convicted criminal.  He’s too fragile.  His aggressive running style is going to get him in trouble.  The NFL is bigger and faster, and will tear him apart...

We all heard the doubts about Adrian Peterson.  Heck, many of us harbored them ourselves.

But it didn't take long for Peterson to silence critics with his play on the field.

The first-year Vikings back has already displayed the sort of dominance the NFL hasn't seen from a rookie since Eric Dickerson donned a Rams jersey in 1983—if ever.

Peterson’s injury history weighed heavily on the minds of NFL coaches and GMs.  There were shoulder and ankle problems early in his career at Oklahoma, but scouts were particularly nervous about the broken collarbone that forced him to miss seven games during his final year in college.  He almost certainly slipped in the draft because of the concerns.

Still, when April 28th rolled around, the Minnesota Vikings selected Peterson with the seventh pick.

He paid immediate dividends.

The rookie jumped out of the gates with a 103-yard performance against the Atlanta Falcons.  He also exhibited his versatility by catching a 60-yard touchdown out of the backfield.

Over the next four games, Peterson reached the 100-yard rushing mark three more times, including a dazzling 224-yard, three-touchdown show against the once-proud Chicago Bears defense.

And he was just getting started.

The coup de grâce for naysayers came in the form of an all time NFL single-game rushing record. Peterson had his way against the San Diego D en route to a 296-yard day—and a spot in the record books.

Peterson may have earned himself a few new cynics with a handful of missed games and mediocre showings late in the season, but watching him in action is incredible.  Fans know they're witnessing something special every time he takes the field.

It's been a great year for sports fans, but the best story of 2007 was woven by a rookie to whom nobody gave much of a chance.

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