Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

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Ageless Peterson Won’t Play at 40


Adrian Peterson, 34, could be playing against his old team, the Vikings, for the last time Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. There was doubt earlier this week about Peterson’s availability for the game because of an ankle injury but is reporting this afternoon that he will play in Minneapolis.

The future Hall of Famer has been a starter on a bad 1-6 Redskins team. Peterson, filling for injured starter Derrius Guice, has run for 307 rush yards and one touchdown on 83 attempts in six games. His longest run is 25 yards and he is averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Although time and the pounding of the NFL have surely diminished Peterson’s skills, it’s remarkable he is still productive at such an advanced age for a running back.

Peterson, who played for the Vikings from 2007-2016, has long talked about becoming a king of old age ball carriers. Even when Peterson was with the Vikings he speculated about being on the field at age 40. Then last December in an interview posted on he revisited the topic.

With one game remaining in the season his Redskins weren’t going to qualify for the playoffs but Peterson claimed to have “fresh legs” and was upbeat while answering questions. “My body feels great,” he said.

Toward the interview’s end Peterson was asked how many more years he might play in the NFL? “God willing, I am thinking about 40 years (old),” he said.

Peterson, who earlier this season set the NFL all-time record for rushing touchdowns with 107, has also played for the Saints and Cardinals since leaving Minnesota. He loves to play football but money is likely a motivation, too. Multiple media sources last summer reported he had serious financial problems.

The Redskins lost 9-0 to the 49ers on Sunday with Peterson gaining 81 yards on 20 carries. Word from a Sports Headliners source is Peterson was less effective in the second half, and that his third quarter fumble, on the team’s best drive, was a turning point in the game. “He still runs hard, but seems to lack the breakaway quickness or agility of earlier times,” the source said via email.

In the competitive world of the NFL, teams are looking to the future as well as the present. Peterson has set records and made remarkable comebacks from injuries but playing to age 40 seems impossible. More likely is that all those Vikings fans who cheered for him so long will say goodbye Thursday evening.

Worth Noting

The Vikings announced this afternoon the release of cornerback and punt returner Marcus Sherels who has played most of his NFL career with the organization.  The Rochester native was a walk-on standout with the Gophers.

Former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, a featured part of the Redskins’ struggling offense, is expected to be the starter for Thursday night’s game in Minneapolis.

Gophers head football coach P.J. Fleck reiterated today on KFAN Radio that the availability of injured senior linebacker Kamal Martin will be a game-time decision Saturday before taking on Maryland.

Fleck talking on the radio about inspirational four-time cancer survivor Casey O’Brien who is the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week, and will visit a hospital to help others this afternoon: “The attitude he has is non-human.”

Fleck’s wife, Heather, will attend Friday’s Goal Line Club lunch at Jax Café where Gophers cornerback coach Rod Chance will speak. Mike Grimm, radio voice of the Gophers, will emcee. More at

It will be interesting to watch the secondary tickets market for Saturday’s showdown game in Brookings between North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Monday was featuring tickets ranging in cost from $ 85.39 to $283.89.

The “coaching tree” is healthy: first year NDSU head coach Matt Entz is 7-0 while Chris Klieman, the mentor he succeeded in Fargo, is 4-2 at Kansas State following a big win over TCU last Saturday. Klieman’s former boss with the Bison, ex-NDSU head coach Craig Bohl, is 5-2 at Wyoming.

Running back Zach Zenner, the former Eagan, Minnesota and South Dakota star, caught a pass for six yards and rushed for a single yard in his debut game for the Saints on Sunday.

Mike Mahlen of Verndale became the first Minnesota prep football coach to achieve 400 career wins when his team defeated Rothsay last week. Mahlen, 400-123-3, is in his 51st season at Verndale (about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis) where he has spent his entire head coaching career.

The Timberwolves, who open their NBA regular season Wednesday night against the Nets in Brooklyn, are predicted to finish 13th among 15 Western Conference teams by Sports Illustrated. In the magazine’s NBA preview issue the Wolves are ranked No. 22  among the league’s most fun teams to watch.  There are 30 NBA teams.

“The offensive brilliance of Karl-Anthony Towns is basically weighed down by the offensive brickiness of Andrew Wiggins,” the magazine said in the story about the entertainment appeal of all 30 NBA teams.

Glen Taylor

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Towns’ whose offensive game is among the NBA’s best: “He’s pretty well got that down.”

Taylor told Sports Headliners last week that coach Ryan Saunders has asked him to travel with the team, something that Ryan’s dad, Flip Saunders, also requested.

Taylor, an investor in the Minnesota United, said the third-year MLS franchise will not be profitable this year and probably won’t be for awhile.

It’s believed Twin Cities winter time teams are finding it a challenge to sell season tickets. A guesstimate is the Wild could be at about 11,000 season tickets, with the Timberwolves and basketball Gophers in the 7,000 to 8,000 range. Sports Headliners reported Sunday that Gophers hockey non-student season tickets are at 4,610 and down from 5,060 in 2018-2019, according to the University of Minnesota.

Budget ticket prices are featured now by the University in multiple sports including a $15 single game ticket for men’s basketball.

Condolences to family and friends of former Gophers volleyball coach Mike Hebert who passed away Monday at age 75.

It was 20 years ago last Sunday that original Twins owner Calvin Griffith died at age 87.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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