He may not have been in attendance on Sunday afternoon when the Minnesota Vikings pulled of the shock of the weekend beating the Atlanta Falcons 41-28, but Adrian Peterson certainly had a hand in his teams victory.
Play the game like it's your last
Before kick off he sent a text message to head coach Mike Zimmer and Zimmer shared it with the team. Second year linebacker Gerald Hodges, who started his first NFL game, confirmed the message:
"[Peterson] just sent it to coach," Hodges said. "Him and coach were texting back and [Peterson] said he wanted to share some things. He just said he'd love to be out here, would be dying to be out here with us. But everything's out of his control. He just said go out there and play your hearts out like it's your last time playing."
The text message must have sparked something because the Vikings put on a show for their fans. It was easily their best performance of the season, and possibly better than any last season.
First-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Asiata, undrafted in 2011, shone for the Vikings and the young stars gave the Minnesota fans something to cheer about after a tough month for the franchise.
Bridgewater threw for 317 passing yards and rushed for 27 yards and a touchdown in his first start in the NFL and said the message from Peterson was 'very deep':
"One thing that I took away from that message was: 'play each down like it's your last because you never know when it's going to be your last opportunity,'" Bridgewater said. "Today I think the guys got that message pretty well. We went out, we fought today and it was just a great overall team effort."
Asiata - who rushed for three touchdowns - also paid tribute to the text message:
"We felt him in spirit. He gave us a text, a motivational speech in a text, and we came out punching."
Peterson is currently on the Commissioner's exempt list and is away from the team whilst he fights child abuse charges, and whilst his career in Minnesota is most likely over, it's good to see that he still cares.