Peterson impressing coaches, teammates

Adrian Peterson could be one of only two NFL running backs to reach a six-year milestone, but the fact that he's already past 900 yards rushing less than a year removed from major knee surgery has his coaches and teammates gushing about his play.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has led the league in rushing once in his career and been in the top six four times, so the fact that he's on top of the rushing charts after nine games can't be too surprising.

But it's how he is doing it that is impressive, even to his teammates and coaches after reconstructive knee surgery on Dec. 30.

"I don't know if words can describe how impressed myself and everyone is with what Adrian has accomplished. He's just an amazing athlete, a guy with so much determination," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "To play the way he has played, you wouldn't even know he is coming off of major knee surgery. Going all the way back to our game against Jacksonville when we opened the season, the things he's done throughout the year. It seems that now he's even beginning to get stronger. He's looking more and more as if he never was injured. It's just incredible."

Peterson leads the NFL with 957 rushing yards and is on pace for 1,701 yards and 10 touchdowns. That would join him with former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 900 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of their first six seasons.

"The way he runs, the way he's able to hit the hole at full speed and make people miss at full speed is pretty unbelievable," guard Charlie Johnson said.

Peterson is also second in the league with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average and has three consecutive games with 100 yards or more rushing – the first time he has done that since 2008, when he led the league with 1,760 yards.

The Vikings also lead the league with 14 runs of 20 yards or more – 17 of those belong to Peterson.

All of this comes less than a year after Peterson had reconstructive knee surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. And he has also been battling an ankle injury for the last month.

"Oh, man, I've never seen anything like it. That spin move he had (against Seattle) was like it was out of a video game. That was pretty incredible," offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said. "Obviously there are no more issues with his knee. He's an amazing guy. It makes it fun to block when you've got a guy like that."

Peterson had 182 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per carry, against Seattle on Sunday. The previous two games he had 123 yards and an 8.2-yard average against Tampa Bay, and 153 yards and a 6.7-yard average against Arizona.

For most of the offseason, there were considerable questions about his knee. Would he be able to practice at the start of training camp? Would he play at all in the preseason? When would he return to the workhorse role to which he had become accustomed? How long would it take him to return to form, or would he ever?

Frazier said all those questions fueled Peterson's rehabilitation.

"Oh, yeah. That was a motivating factor for sure to get back and prove to everyone that he could be as good or better as he was before," Frazier said. "He said a number of different times, ‘I'm going to be better.' You'd say, ‘How can he be better than he was?' He was already the best back in the league, but the way he's improving, who knows what's going to happen the rest of the season? But he's been an inspiring for everybody."

NOTES

  • In 10 career games against the Detroit Lions, Peterson has 994 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 190 attempts, including six 100-yard rushing performances. With six yards rushing from Peterson on Sunday, the Lions would become the second team Peterson has 1,000 rushing yards against – he has 1,033 against the Packers.

  • Percy Harvin has 62 catches through nine games, putting him on pace for 110 receptions for the season. If he reaches 100, he would be the first player in NFL history with 100 catches and a kickoff return for a touchdown in the same season. Harvin had his 105-yard kickoff return the last time the Vikings played Detroit, on Sept. 30. Harvin and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are the only players in NFL history with at least 20 scrimmage TDs and five kick return TDs in their first four seasons.

  • The Vikings defense attained another dubious mark Sunday. When Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the first half against the Vikings, he reached elite company. Only three other rookies over the last quarter-century have thrown three touchdown passes in the first half of an NFL game: Sam Bradford in 2010, Matthew Stafford in 2009, and Trent Edwards in 2007, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

  • While the Lions running game has struggled overall this season, Mikel Leshoure took advantage of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. Leshoure scored three touchdowns in the second quarter alone, something Barry Sanders never did in any quarter of his 153-game career with the Detroit Lions, according to Elias.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has led the league in rushing once in his career and been in the top six four times, so the fact that he's on top of the rushing charts after nine games can't be too surprising. But it's how he is doing it that is impressive, even to his teammates and coaches after reconstructive knee surgery on Dec. 30. \"I don't know if words can describe how impressed myself and everyone is with what Adrian has accomplished. He's just an amazing athlete, a guy with so much determination,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. \"To play the way he has played, you wouldn't even know he is coming off of major knee surgery. Going all the way back to our game against Jacksonville when we opened the season, the things he's done throughout the year. It seems that now he's even beginning to get stronger. He's looking more and more as if he never was injured. It's just incredible.\" Peterson leads the NFL with 957 rushing yards and is on pace for 1,701 yards and 10 touchdowns. That would join him with former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players in NFL history to rush for at least 900 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of their first six seasons. \"The way he runs, the way he's able to hit the hole at full speed and make people miss at full speed is pretty unbelievable,\" guard Charlie Johnson said. Peterson is also second in the league with a 5.7 yards-per-carry average and has three consecutive games with 100 yards or more rushing – the first time he has done that since 2008, when he led the league with 1,760 yards. The Vikings also lead the league with 14 runs of 20 yards or more – 17 of those belong to Peterson. All of this comes less than a year after Peterson had reconstructive knee surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. And he has also been battling an ankle injury for the last month. \"Oh, man, I've never seen anything like it. That spin move he had (against Seattle) was like it was out of a video game. That was pretty incredible,\" offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said. \"Obviously there are no more issues with his knee. He's an amazing guy. It makes it fun to block when you've got a guy like that.\" Peterson had 182 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per carry, against Seattle on Sunday. The previous two games he had 123 yards and an 8.2-yard average against Tampa Bay, and 153 yards and a 6.7-yard average against Arizona. For most of the offseason, there were considerable questions about his knee. Would he be able to practice at the start of training camp? Would he play at all in the preseason? When would he return to the workhorse role to which he had become accustomed? How long would it take him to return to form, or would he ever? Frazier said all those questions fueled Peterson's rehabilitation. \"Oh, yeah. That was a motivating factor for sure to get back and prove to everyone that he could be as good or better as he was before,\" Frazier said. \"He said a number of different times, ‘I'm going to be better.' You'd say, ‘How can he be better than he was?' He was already the best back in the league, but the way he's improving, who knows what's going to happen the rest of the season? But he's been an inspiring for everybody.\"
  • In 10 career games against the Detroit Lions, Peterson has 994 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 190 attempts, including six 100-yard rushing performances. With six yards rushing from Peterson on Sunday, the Lions would become the second team Peterson has 1,000 rushing yards against – he has 1,033 against the Packers.
  • Percy Harvin has 62 catches through nine games, putting him on pace for 110 receptions for the season. If he reaches 100, he would be the first player in NFL history with 100 catches and a kickoff return for a touchdown in the same season. Harvin had his 105-yard kickoff return the last time the Vikings played Detroit, on Sept. 30. Harvin and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers are the only players in NFL history with at least 20 scrimmage TDs and five kick return TDs in their first four seasons.
  • The Vikings defense attained another dubious mark Sunday. When Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the first half against the Vikings, he reached elite company. Only three other rookies over the last quarter-century have thrown three touchdown passes in the first half of an NFL game: Sam Bradford in 2010, Matthew Stafford in 2009, and Trent Edwards in 2007, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
  • While the Lions running game has struggled overall this season, Mikel Leshoure took advantage of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. Leshoure scored three touchdowns in the second quarter alone, something Barry Sanders never did in any quarter of his 153-game career with the Detroit Lions, according to Elias.
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