MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 22: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Before Adrian Peterson was a dominant NFL running back, a fantasy stud and a pitchman for Nike, he was a kid growing up in Palestine, a small town in Northeast Texas, and looking up, like countless others of his generation, to the Dallas Cowboys--literally. His bedroom was spangled with the posters of his gridiron heroes.
Now, the franchise of his childhood is standing between he (and the rest of the Vikings) and a date with the conference championship game, a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Peterson, for one, will have no problem filing away his juvenile allegiance on Sunday. "Can't be a Cowboy fan on Sunday," he said, recently. His family, well, that's a different story, as evidenced by the recent remarks of his father, Nelson Peterson.
"I've got a lot of family that's kind of uneven what side they're pulling for," said the elder Peterson. "We've got some die-hard Cowboys fans."
While there's little doubt the younger Peterson will be all business Sunday, he can't resist a wistful smile when the conversation turns to his childhood heroes, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin.
"I was a huge Cowboys fan growing up--the days of Michael Irvin, 'Prime Time' and Emmitt [Smith]," Peterson said Thursday. "It's going to feel good to play those guys. I've got a lot of family that's kind of uneven to what side they're pulling for. We're coming in definitely to get a win."