Adrian Peterson is hoping to blow the NFL away by Week 1. (Getty Images)
If you were wondering just how well Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee (and how much he sets the pace for the Vikings), it seems that things are going fairly well. At the team's Winter Park facility for the start of this year's offseason team activities in late April, Peterson noticed that his teammates weren't running as hard as he'd like them to. So Peterson, who's supposed to be on the mend and away from huffing it at all, reacted as any real competitor would -- he challenged those same teammates to a footrace.
And left them all eating his dust.
"He was off to the side working with our trainer, Eric Sugarman, and he looked out and saw the guys doing their wind sprints," head coach Leslie Frazier told ESPN Minnesota's Tom Pelissero. "He says, 'You know, I don't think they're running hard enough.' Eric allowed him to go out and run with them, and he passed them four different times. He finished in first four different times."
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Keep in mind -- this is a guy who had major surgery on his left ACL, MCL and meniscus (basically a complete knee reconstruction) just five months ago. We're guessing that Peterson's regenerative properties are fairly unusual, and it's pretty certain that his teammates agree.
"I remember [backup quarterback] Joe Webb saying, 'I can't believe it. I just can't believe it,'" Frazier said. "So, he's doing great and we're optimistic that he's going to be ready for that first game. I know that's his goal and we'll just see how he continues to progress, but he's doing great."
About the only possible knock on Peterson's amazing game is the fact that he has been somewhat injury-prone. That said, he's missed just seven regular-season games in his five-year career, and missed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground just once. That happened last year, when Peterson missed four games and finished with just 970 yards. He missed three games with a high ankle sprain, and then tore up his knee in the Vikings' 15th game of the season, against the Washington Redskins. Surgery came soon after, at the hands of famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
At the time, it was feared that Peterson would not be able to go for Week 1 of the 2012 season. Now, at least, things are looking up.
Frazier told Pelissero that Peterson hasn't been cutting on the field yet, "but that's the next step. He has to get to the point where he's comfortable cutting. Straight ahead, he's doing great. Now he has to get to the point where he's comfortable being able to go left to right or right to left and stopping and starting. So, one step at a time."
Well, more than one step. Quite a few steps, and very quickly. This jibes with Peterson's recent comments, stating that he is going as hard as possible in order to be ready for the regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 9.
"To be honest with you I feel like 50-50," Peterson told ESPN's Josina Anderson, when asked about training camp. "I feel like honestly, sitting here telling you the truth, I'll be able to participate doing certain things. I think I'll be able to participate. That's my mindset; but I'm going to follow the protocol. Whatever the Vikings and their staff want me to do, then I'm gonna do that; but I'm not going to hinder myself. I'm going to let those guys know how I feel, so if I'm able to get out there and get a couple of reps or whatever, then I'm going to participate in that way. But I'm sure they've got my best interests in hand, so we'll work it out."
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