At this point, even Chuck Norris and Bill Brasky must fear Adrian Peterson. It wasn't just that the transcendent Minnesota Vikings running back gashed the NFL for over 2,000 yards on the ground in his 2012 season just months after undergoing major knee surgery. Nope, such things are for mere mortals.
Peterson, it was reported today, went and upped the ante by rushing for 1,068 yards in his last seven games of the season AFTER suffering a sports hernia in the Vikings'34-24 Week 10 win over the Detroit Lions. Minnesota had a bye the next week, which helped Peterson a little bit. But as he told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Thursday, Peterson -- who underwent surgery and then spoke with Anderson -- was affected by the injury through the rest of the season.
That's right. Peterson had a pair of 200-plus yard games in that stretch, and a 199-yard follow-up against the Green Bay Packers, while dealing with an abdominal injury that, as he said, kept getting "worse and worse and worse."
"I don't know if it was from a tackle or from me pulling away from someone. I just remember thinking when I saw my jersey like that, that I must've gotten twisted up pretty bad.
"That next day I felt very uncomfortable in my groin and abdominal area. I thought to myself, I'll just wait until I recover but I never did ... I kept thinking to myself, why is this happening and why now? With everything that I was going through with my knee I just said to myself I am not going to let this bring me down. I just focused on doing my rehab, getting rest and continuing to play."
Sure -- like you do. Rehab from a knee surgery that would put most guys out for an entire season, and run through a hernia at the same time. Isn't that what everyone does? Peterson didn't practice for the most part through the remainder of the season -- juts a couple carries every Friday. Then, he would go out and demolish defense after defense that was exclusively set up to stop him, thanks to the Vikings' anemic passing game.
"It was mind over matter. It was just about doing what I had to do to push myself every week. My body was sore from the game and the sports hernia every Monday, so I did what I had to do to recover and get my body right. I just played through the pain. I ran on adrenaline."
Peterson said that as the pain increased, he had to start getting shots just to play, and that the pain was the worst when the Vikings beat the Houston Texans, 23-6, in Week 16. That was the only game during the regular-season stretch in which he was hurt that he didn't hit 100 yards --he ran for 86 yards on 25 carries against one of the NFL's best defenses.
"That was the first time that I really doubted myself and questioned whether I would be able to continue the season. The pain was a 10 on a scale of 10."
But since Peterson operates at a level of about 350 on a scale of 10, he was able to push past it. He finished up the regular season with that 199-yard game against the Packers in a game the Vikings had to win to hit the playoffs, and "dropped off" to 99 yards in the postseason loss to the Packers -- a game in which starting quarterback Christian Ponder was hurt, and backup quarterback Joe Webb basically went with the old Wishbone "It'd be better if we didn't throw the ball at all" plan of attack.
With all this going on, Peterson finished just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards. He did so under conditions that would have made a 1,000-yard season not only acceptable, but admirable.
"It definitely impacted my play," Peterson said of the injury's impact on his run at the record. "I wasn't 100 percent, but I wanted to win a championship. I wasn't going to stop or quit. I made a decision to keep going. I don't want to make it seem like the sports hernia made me miss it. I could have done it with the injury. All I can say is that I would have had better performances."
Peterson told Anderson that the recovery process from the surgery is 3-4 weeks, at which point he can start working out again. People had better watch out in the greater Minneapolis area -- Adrian Peterson might start leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
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