The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 15, 2012

Adrian Peterson's recovery giving Vikings hope

— With every razor-sharp cut in the hole and every breakaway run, Adrian Peterson is doing more than instilling hope in any athlete who has torn an ACL this year.

His remarkable recovery from a major knee injury just 10 months ago is also showing his Minnesota Vikings teammates that anything is possible. Maybe even a playoff berth in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season.

The Vikings (6-4) enter the bye week right in the thick of the postseason picture, thanks in large part to their star running back doing what many thought impossible. Not even a year out from surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee, Peterson is barreling through the league again just like he did before he was hurt, striking fear into opposing defenses and galvanizing a young team with limitations on offense that desperately needed him.

"I think Adrian is an inspiration for our entire squad, our entire organization," coach Leslie Frazier said. "What he has accomplished, in a lot of ways, is mind-boggling in so many ways."

Peterson leads the league in rushing, more than 100 yards ahead of Seattle's Marshawn Lynch, is averaging a career-high 5.8 yards per carry and has topped 120 yards and scored at least once in the last four games.

The NFL's best running back, as crazy as it may sound, could be even better now than he was before his left knee collapsed in Washington last season. He's setting up his blocks more patiently, trusts the play design more implicitly and appears to have regained his speed and agility faster than most running backs who are coming off a torn ligament.

"That guy's a monster," defensive end Jared Allen said after Peterson rushed for 171 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Lions last weekend. "Are you kidding me? Good luck trying to catch him. That dude's phenomenal."

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