Let’s begin when Mike Wallace was just a toddler. Before the riches and hardships and stardom and loss.

Still learning to walk, the future football superstar knew how to climb. One day, which his parents Sonjia and Mike Jr. vividly remember, their youngest son slipped off a table and nearly hanged himself with his own bib.

Years later, he was an asthmatic teen. Mike — or Burnell Michael Wallace III, as he’s formally known — would routinely reach for an inhaler after sprinting through New Orleans’ humid air a little too hard, a little too fast.

The winter winds of Pittsburgh have stung his lungs — and every other part of his body, for that matter – the past few years. Sultry Miami was never far from his mind.

So when cold-weather teams like the Vikings made a pitch for 2013’s hot-shot free agent, they barely had a chance. It was time to go south, where he could breathe – figuratively, and a bit literally.

“The [Vikings] had come to the point where they were telling him, ‘You don’t have to live here, just be here during the season,’ ” Wallace’s father, Mike Jr., said by phone this week. “He wanted to get out of that snow and cold weather.”