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Sports Authority

De Jesus: Vikings need to keep Peterson

| Sunday, September 21, 2014

When we think of who the best running back in the NFL is, Adrian Peterson is one of the first names that comes to mind. But when we think of Peterson today, unfortunately we’re haunted with the images of the Vikings’ running back beating his four year-old son with a branch.

The consequences of Peterson’s actions have cost him fans, sponsors and possibly his career in Minnesota. While his actions were wrong, he doesn’t deserve to have his career in Minnesota cut short.

First, think of how much Adrian Peterson has contributed to Minnesota from the start of his tenure there. Before Peterson, the Vikings went through several mediocre seasons led by Brad Childress, Tavaris Jackson and Chester Taylor. The Vikings went six years without winning a division title and failed to finish better than 9-7.

In 2007, Peterson was drafted by the Vikings with the seventh overall pick in the draft. Since then, the Vikings have made the playoffs three times, including an appearance in the NFC title game in 2009, when they nearly went on to play in the Super Bowl. Yes, Brett Favre played a big role in the Vikings’ success that year, but you can’t diminish the importance of Peterson’s contributions.

Over the course of his seven-year career, Peterson has established himself as one of the better players in NFL history, racking up more than 10,000 yards rushing and 91 total touchdowns. Two years ago, Peterson fell just eight yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record running of 2,105 yards. Plain and simple, this man is a freakishly good athlete whom Minnesota is blessed to have. Who are the Minnesota Vikings without Peterson?

Now, I understand none of those statistics justify Peterson beating his four-year-old son, but Vikings officials told several media outlets they don’t foresee Peterson in their future, and that upset me. Why? Because Peterson made a mistake, owned up to it, and, given his upbringing, you can’t blame him for resorting to corporal punishment when he was treated with the same discipline. Peterson’s father treated him the same way, punishing him with belts and switches. Peterson’s relatives said Peterson was hit in public after football practices whenever he got in trouble in school. Jerome Felton, another Viking and friend of Peterson, said he also was disciplined in this way growing up and corporal punishment made him a better person. It’s not news to hear of parents hitting their kids to discipline them, but Peterson’s case is highlighted because he’s Adrian Peterson and because his son was left with pretty bad lacerations.

Did Peterson excessively punish his son? Yes, and that should be handled appropriately, but talking about the end of his career in Minnesota is just absurd.

Ray Rice knocked his wife out with a blow to the head. Greg Hardy has two counts of domestic violence charged against him in which he assaulted and threatened his former girlfriend. Jonathan Dwyer broke his wife’s nose by head-butting her. Peterson’s act of domestic violence just happened to follow a couple of these terrible events, and that has some impact on the severity of Peterson’s punishment.

I agree with every other backlash resulting from Peterson’s actions, including the loss of sponsors like Castrol motor oil and Nike and the Vikings deactivating him from all team activities. He should be suspended and forced to seek counseling, but for him to have to lose his job is something I won’t agree with. If the Vikings let Peterson go, the franchise will regret it down the road.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

Contact Manuel