EDEN PRAIRIE — If Adrian Peterson was going to return from reconstructive surgery on his left knee in time to play the full 2012 season, he had to hit that rehabilitation program hard.
Peterson and the Vikings reaped the benefits of his persistence and determination, with 2,097 yards rushing for him and an externally unexpected trip to the playoffs for the team.
This year, Peterson is injury-free, but he doesn't plan on letting up. His aim for the Vikings is to follow his relentless lead, hoping that dedication will pay off this year with more success than a 10-6 record and a one-and-done postseason appearance.
"I won't take much time off. Last year was a blessing in disguise for me because I had to start extremely early working out, and I see what the results were," Peterson said Monday as the Vikings cleared out their lockers and scattered for the winter.
The NFL's leading rusher by a long shot and a strong candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, Peterson said he'd resume training in less than two weeks. He also said he'd like to gather as many teammates as he can near his Houston home before formal strength and conditioning begin in Minnesota in late April
"I'm all in. I'm about to grind again this offseason and come back and be better than I was this year," Peterson said.
He's not even willing to take it easy in the Pro Bowl, where the collective effort of the all-stars is always in short supply. Peterson has already served Eric Dickerson notice that he's coming for that single-season record again, after falling 9 yards short. He's even raised the possibility of reaching the 2,500-yard mark, as unlikely as that might be.