Things are relatively back to normal in Adrian Peterson world, as least as far as the sports media is concerned: They're talking about his football playing again, rather than bad news off the field.
The main story line is that Adrian "All Day" Peterson will be having a homecoming of sorts, returning to his home state of Texas when the Vikings travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys Sunday.
Peterson grew up in Palestine, a couple hours southeast of Dallas, and keeps a residence in Houston. He grew up a Cowboys fan, and knows some of his family members still root for what some people still call "America's Team."
This ESPN story says that when the Vikes traveled to play the Texans last December, AP got 100 ticket requests from friends and family. This homecoming, then, might mean more -- and might be in higher demand. Peterson said he's only got 62 tickets for this year's game.
"Everybody's not going to be able to make this trip," he said. "But it's still a lot, and it will be fun."
In fact, AP is still such a towering football figure in a football state, people still talk about his high school exploits. He rushed for 305 yards and six touchdowns in the first half of a game in 2003, his senior season.
But another ESPN bit worries about the disappearance of the running game in Texas high school football, and Peterson says he wants to see it come back.
"It's cool, it is what it is," Peterson said on a conference call with reporters. "Me among other running backs in the NFL, we're going to make sure we keep it alive. There's a lot of kids out there that look up to us and pride themselves on being the best, and it will show. When you put on film as a running back, this is what you can do, you can't be denied."
What is being denied is Peterson himself, with the Minnesota Vikings. The Star Tribune cites this somewhat startling stat: Peterson averaged 12 rushes for 50 yards over the past three games, all losses, with only one touchdown.
"Peterson has been marginalized," opines yet another ESPN piece on AP. It goes on with a nice bit of analysis:
"He's carried just 36 times in the Vikings' last three games, gaining no more than 62 yards in any of them. But the interesting thing about those games is that Peterson was only really stopped in one of them, on Oct. 21 against the New York Giants when he ran 13 times for 28 yards. In the other two games, against Carolina and Green Bay, Peterson averaged 6.2 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively, but he didn't get his carries either because the Vikings were too far behind to run the ball (against the Panthers) or were rarely on the field (against the Packers)."
In other words, give him the ball, coach!
"That's why it's been so surprising that they've turned away from Peterson at the first sign of trouble," continues ESPN. "His numbers have suffered as a result, as has his ability to influence games like he did in his MVP season.
Peterson should have the last word, based on what he told the Pioneer Press on Thursday. "You definitely want to get the ball a little more,'' Peterson said. "I think the last three games, 13 carries, I don't think that's ever happened in my career."