Adrian Peterson didn't just amaze fans with his comeback from surgery in December 2011 to replace the ACL and MCL in his left knee. About 10 months after that, he was amazing his coaches with his ability to play while dealing with a sports hernia.
Peterson, who recently had surgery to repair the sports hernia, played much of the second half of the season with the injury. The Vikings started to limit his practice routine during the week, but Peterson still went out and played every game on his way to rushing for 2,097 yards, the second-most in NFL history.
"He'd go out and play on Sunday, I was just like, ‘Amazing!' ACL, sports hernia and to play the way he played," Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "The surgery, it's like a piece of cake after ACL and what he was able to accomplish. He's unique. He's very unique."
General manager Rick Spielman said Peterson will be ready for the Vikings' offseason practices in a couple months and laughed about how quickly he recovers from surgeries.
Peterson had his knee surgery on Dec. 30, 2011 and didn't miss a game in 2012.
Frazier said there was some question internally if Peterson's carries should be limited late in the season, but there was only one game that was necessary, the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Houston Texans. It was the only time in the final 10 games that Peterson didn't exceed 100 yards rushing.
"There were times I'd be telling (running backs coach) James Saxon on the head set, ‘Watch him on this carry. See if we have to take him out,'" Frazier said. "I'd talk to him on those Fridays when he would get in some practice time and say, ‘What do you think?' He'd say, ‘Coach, I'll be ready. I'll be ready.' But I couldn't always tell if he was going to be ready and you'd go through warmups in pregame and it was like, man, he's going to be OK. But in the back of your mind you're just wondering, can he finish? And then he'd break a long run and you're like, ‘He's different.'"
Frazier said there were times he could see Peterson grabbing the injured area, but Peterson never wanted to come out until the Houston game. The running back admitted he took himself out of that game, a testament to how painful it must have been.
However, Peterson returned the following week for the season finale and rushed for 199 yards against the Green Bay Packers, falling just nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's all-time single-season mark of 2,105 yards.
"To get him ready for that ballgame, we were concerned going into that ballgame how he was going to perform. Incredible," Frazier said.
Peterson delayed surgery on the sport hernia so he could play in the Pro Bowl.
"That was something he had his heart set on and felt like he could protect himself," Frazier said.
The Vikings had athletic trainer Eric Sugarman on site and the Green Bay Packers coaching staff was aware of Peterson's situation in Hawaii, with Frazier saying "they didn't stress him."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.