(Brett Favre photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
(Adrian Peterson photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
At 30, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson is not exactly an old man. But he is older … and wiser … than he was in 2009 when he and the Minnesota Vikings came this close to making the Super Bowl. And with that knowledge comes an appreciation for what he missed … and, no, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl. I’m talking about the quarterback who had Minnesota on the brink of reaching one.
Peterson played two years with Favre, and in 2009 the two of them advanced as far as the NFC championship game where they were beaten in overtime by New Orleans. Favre, who appeared on the Talk of Fame Network earlier this year, told us the interception he threw at the end of the fourth quarter – one that cost the Vikings a potential game-winning field goal – was the pass he considers the worst of his career.
Too bad, too. Because it ended one of the best seasons for the then-40-year-old Favre, one where he produced his best passer rating (107.2) and that included a game-winning 32-yard pass as time expired in a defeat of San Francisco – a play Favre singled out as the one that symbolized him at his best.
So you had the best … the worst … and a lot of unforgettable experiences … all in one season with Brett Favre, and we asked Peterson on this week’s Talk of Fame Network broadcast how he remembers it today.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I sit back and think about it, and I think, `Man, I should’ve asked him some questions. I should have done this. Or, I should’ve done that.’ But it was a wonderful experience just seeing a guy that age – at 38, 39, 40 years old – compete the way that he could compete. He was the ultimate competitor.
“With his knowledge of the game, he could be an offensive coordinator. (I remember) just how he was able to orchestrate things and switch plays up. And he still had a strong arm. Still, to this day, I haven’t had a quarterback throw me a pass that goes by me as I sit down on a route, and I hear wind as the ball passes.
“That’s just an (example) of the strength he had in his arm still … (and) approaching 40. And just his knowledge of the game … it did surprise me. Because just watching him, I could kind of sense the type of personality that he had. But actually being around him … he’s just so down to earth; just a regular guy who loved to play football.”
Favre is one of the candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, and he’s a dead-bolt cinch to make it as a first-ballot inductee. You know it. The Hall’s 46 selectors know it. And Peterson knows it. In fact, he said he knew it when the two were teammates.
“For me,” he said. “it was just about taking it all in and seeing how he moved and how he went about his own business. I was able to learn a lot from him. Hands down, he’s first-ballot. And he still inspires me.
“I look at guys like Brett Favre and T. Newman (Minnesota cornerback Terence Newman), guys who are still playing in the league at 35 and older, and it’s like: Man, these guys are still doing it! I know people say, ‘Oh, it’s different positions,’ but it takes more than just age to knock you out (of the game). You also have to have the mindset and the willpower to endure training camp and OTAs and everything that comes with playing this game for a long period of time.
“I’m glad to say … and I’ll be able to tell my kids … I played with Brett Favre.”