On Christmas Eve, Adrian Peterson found himself lying on the turf at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., in pain with a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus as the result of a hit by Washington Redskins defensive back DeJon Gomes.
On Tuesday, 235 days after that injury, Peterson will put on his pads for the first time since that day and resume full football activities with all of his Minnesota Vikings teammates. Barring any sort of setback, Peterson will be on pace to start the season opener on September 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Such a comeback would be nothing short of miraculous.
For anybody else.
But Vikings fans are used to seeing miraculous feats from Adrian Peterson. In the first eight games of his NFL career, he went over the 200-yard mark twice, including setting the single-game NFL record for rushing yards in a game against the San Diego Chargers. He is one of only five players in NFL history to rush for 3,000 yards in his first two seasons, and was the fifth-fastest back in the history of the NFL to the 5,000-yard plateau. He already holds the Vikings' career record for rushing touchdowns, and is just a handful of yards short of setting the team mark for career rushing yards. In NFL history, only Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, and Terrell Davis averaged more yards per game in their careers than Peterson's 92.5 yard average.
For Peterson to be back and ready for full contact football this early after his injury speaks volumes for not only his ridiculous athletic ability, but his incredible work ethic as well. After suffering the injury on December 24, he had surgery on the knee on December 30. Within a couple of weeks, Peterson had "ditched the crutches" and had already started rehabbing his injury with Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman. During the Vikings mini-camps, he could be seen racing up hills with a fellow injured Viking, wide receiver Percy Harvin. And he wasn't just racing Harvin up the hill. . .he was winning.
Now, just shy of eight months after needing to have his knee almost completely reconstructed, Adrian Peterson is going to be back on the field doing what he does best. . .running the football and putting opposing defenders on their backsides. Whether he will be the same back he was before the injury remains to be seen. Many running backs that suffer knee injuries of the magnitude that Peterson did come back as something less than what they had been prior to their injuries.
Then again, none of those people are Adrian Peterson. That's why it would be foolish to bet against him. I know I certainly won't be.
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