Vikings' Peterson back to his old electrifying self
BY JON KRAWCZYNSKI Associated Press
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
10/02/12 at 6:08 AM
MINNEAPOLIS - Even while defying the odds to return from reconstructive knee surgery in time for the season opener, Adrian Peterson was still trying to recapture that last bit of juice and burst that he had before he went down in December.
The Minnesota Vikings star running back spent the first three weeks plowing ahead, taking all the carries given to him to try to shake the rust off, loosen up that left knee and get back to dropping jaws and leaving linebackers in his wake.
From his very first carry on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, Peterson has never looked more like his old electrifying self. He made a razor-sharp cut followed by a burst of speed through the hole for a 12-yard gain, setting the tone for a 102-yard effort in Minnesota's 20-13 victory.
"He looked more like the Adrian of old than at any point in this young season," coach Leslie Frazier said on Monday. "He had some runs that showed the strength, the power, the elusiveness that we've seen in the past. It was just great to see. There was no hitch anywhere. He looked good."
It was Peterson's first 100-yard day since last October, a critical performance for an offense that struggled to move the ball all day long, yet still managed to improve to a surprising 3-1. Four of his 21 carries went for at least 10 yards against a Lions defense that prides itself on being tough against the run.
It also allowed the sluggish offense to hold on to the ball for nearly 30 minutes to help run out the clock after two special teams touchdowns and a couple of field goals gave the Vikings enough points to snap an 11-game losing streak against NFC North opponents.
"I felt real good," Peterson said after the game. "I feel myself just continue to get stronger each week. So, I'm just blessed, thank God."
When the former Oklahoma star went down against Washington in December with a significant tear in his ACL, most expected that he would need at least 10 months to recover. But after a successful surgery and a rehab plan developed by Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and his staff, Peterson returned to action in 8 1/2 months.
He was back in the starting lineup for the season opener against Jacksonville, rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars. He rushed for 60 yards in a Week 2 loss at Indianapolis and then churned out 86 tough yards in a win against San Francisco two weeks ago. But he wasn't really back until last weekend.
Before the game against the Lions, Peterson went up to Percy Harvin and told him he felt "icy."
"When he tells me icy, that means he's smooth and ready to go," Harvin said after the game.
And Peterson says he is only going to get better. That will be a big key for the Vikings offense, which is relying more on long, grind-it-out drives and not turning the ball over than it is on making big plays to light up the scoreboard.
Original Print Headline: Peterson proves he's back
3:25 p.m. Sunday
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson drags Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch as he runs with the ball during the second half on Sunday in Detroit. RICK OSENTOSKI / Associated Press