Adrian Peterson has 276 yards rushing in the last two games, leading observers to believe he could be "100 percent" recovered from surgery to repair his left knee and a left ankle injury that has been bothering him since he twisted it Oct. 7 against the Tennessee Titans.
Peterson has maintained for weeks that he would let reporters know when he was 100 percent, but he continues to get the questions. Apparently tiring of it Friday after a loss in which he rushed for 123 yards on 15 carries (an 8.2-yard average), he took his answer to another level.
"I said I am over 100 percent, I am trying to get to 200 percent," Peterson said. "I feel like I am better than I was last year, but I still have room to improve."
Maybe that will end the questions. Or maybe the fact that Peterson has averaged more than 4.5 yards a carry in each of the last five games. Or maybe the fact that he has had a run of 25 yards or more in each of the last four contests.
The Vikings have nine days between games after playing on Thursday night, and Peterson was asked what he planned to do during that time – players were allowed a rare two-day weekend in advance of resuming practice Monday. Rehabilitation and treatment for either the knee or ankle wasn't part of his answer.
"Just being able to take a step back and relax and enjoy this off time, get our minds right," Peterson said. "We have Seattle coming up, which is a real good football team. We're going there on the road, so it's going to be about getting back on track."
Peterson probably deserves a few days off as much as anyone. He didn't have much of an offseason, moving from knee surgery to the different phases of rehab on his surgically repaired anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. He spent time between the Vikings' Winter Park practice facility and his Houston home conditioning and strengthening the knee.
He defied conventional wisdom by playing 8½ months after the surgery and hasn't had a game in which he rushed fewer than 15 times. His lowest yardage output was 60 in Week 2, and he hasn't been below 75 yards in the last six weeks. He has surpassed the 100-yard mark three times in the last five games.
He admitted that sometimes even he marvels at what he accomplished coming back so soon from the surgery.
"Sometimes, I do. I sit back and … but I know why, just keep my faith in God, stay prayed up and have a faith to believe in," Peterson said. "It's the most (important) thing to have believing and having faith. And just working to get to where I am at now. So it's not surprising."
At this pace, Peterson on track for a 1,550-yard season rushing the ball with eight touchdowns. That would be the most since he led the league in 2008 with 1,760 yards rushing. He has also improved in the passing game, on pace for 46 catches for 278 yards.
Now if the rest of the offense could keep pace, the Vikings (5-3) might have a chance at the playoffs for the first time since their Brett Favre-induced 2009 run.
"We have a great potential offensively. The confidence is there. We have to start fast. We haven't been able to do that," he said.
Actually, Peterson has been able to start fast in his return from surgery. It's the rest of the offense that may need repairing.
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.
Peterson ‘trying to get to 200 percent'
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