Dan Wiederer began covering the Vikings in 2011, enthusiastically delivering insight on the team across the Star Tribune's print and digital products. Prior to joining the Access Vikings team, he spent seven seasons covering ACC basketball at The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. He also covered the Chicago Bears in 2003 and 2004. Follow him on Twitter @StribDW.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Adrian Peterson's MVP season looks a bit more incredible now that the abdominal injury he played through in December proved serious enough to require surgery.
The Vikings released this statement this morning: Adrian Peterson had a surgical procedure done today by Dr. William Meyers, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Meyers was able to successfully repair Adrian’s abdominal core muscle injury (sports hernia). We expect a speedy recovery with no long-term concerns.
Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards last season, eight short of the NFL record set by Eric Dickerson (2,105 in 1984). He was named the league's MVP on Saturday night in New Orleans, slightly more than a year after having major surgery on his left knee. Peterson was also named the league's offensive player of the year, and was first-team All-Pro.
And ... he played in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii on Jan. 27, although sparingly.
Now, it turns out, Peterson may have been pushing through severe pain for the Vikings' final six regular season games. In an interview Thursday afternoon with ESPN's Josina Anderson, Peterson said he suffered the sports hernia injury some time during the Vikings' 34-24 home win over the Lions on Nov. 11.
"I didn't know the extent I was hurt then," Peterson told ESPN. "I just remember getting twisted up pretty bad in an awkward position. ... "That next day I felt very uncomfortable in my groin and abdominal area. I thought to myself I'll just wait until I recover but I never did."
The Vikings played it safe with Peterson down the stretch of the season, repeatedly holding him out of practice in December and tailoring their approach so that he'd be as healthy as possible for game days.
"I knew I wasn't really practicing at all," Peterson said Thursday. "I wasn't able to lift because of the strain that it would put on those muscles on an upper- or lower-body workout. That was too much. It was mind over matter. It was just about doing what I had to do to push myself every week. My body was sore from the game and the sports hernia every Monday, so I did what I had to do to recover and get my body right.
"I just played through the pain. I ran on adrenaline."
Leading up to the Vikings' 36-22 victory in St. Louis on Dec. 16 -- a game in which Peterson ran for 212 yards -- he went on the injury report with what was being labeled an abdominal injury. Following his explosion against the Rams, Peterson was then listed as having an abdominal/groin issue which he said was "just normal wear and tear. I've been dealing with it the past couple of weeks. I've been doing the things I need to do as far as resting and conditioning and working out. It's all about that push to Sunday. I'll be ready to roll."
In Week 16, against Houston, Peterson carried 25 times for 86 yards. During that game, he said, the pain from the sports hernia reached its maximum.
"That was probably the worse I felt. That was the first time that I really doubted myself and questioned whether I would be able to continue the season. The pain was a 10 on a scale of 10."
Peterson rebounded in the season finale against Green Bay with 199 yards to challenge Dickerson's record and push the Vikings into the playoffs with a thrilling 37-34 win. The Vikings lost to the Packers on Jan. 5 in the wild-card playoff round 24-10 as Peterson had 99 yards rushing.
Recovery time on sports hernia surgery varies, since the seriousness of the injury varies wildly. But Peterson said his post-operative recovery time would be about 3-4 weeks.
Vikings teammate Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz76) tweeted Thursday morning: "It's quite amazing. He's a beast. I made it 3 days in camp w/that injury before I needed surgery."
According to sportsmedicine.about.com: The typical sports hernia occurs when the muscle layer of abdominal wall in one specific area becomes thin relative to the other areas. This may result in a tear or strain in one of the abdominal muscles or the fascia of the abdominal wall. When that happens, the underlying internal organs, particularly the intestines, push up against the muscular wall and can cause significant pain. A sports hernia rarely causes any visible bulge in the muscle wall, so it is often overlooked for some time before it is diagnosed. The most common symptom of a sports hernia is a dull, aching pain in the lower abdomen or groin that gradually increases in severity. This pain generally increases with exercise or activities such as running or weight lifting.
At least three other Vikings have had surgery in the past couple of weeks. Defensive end Jared Allen had a torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired, punter Chris Kluwe had a meniscus tear in his left (non-kicking) knee fixed and center John Sullivan had a microfracture procedure on his left knee. All of those players played through their injuries this past season, none missing a game.
Cris Carter is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The committee, which includes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune, meets Saturday in New Orleans. The inductees will be announced around 5 p.m. Saturday.
The committee can induct no more than five modern-era players from a pretty impressive list. There are also two senior candidates, and the 46-member selection committee votes thumbs up or thumbs down on those two. (Important to remember: the senior candidates do not compete with the modern candidates. In years past, people have been critical of senior candidates getting in "ahead" of players like Carter, but they are in two separate categories. A senior player being selected does not take the spot of a modern era candidate.)
What do you think about Carter's chances? Here is the list of finalists and, as always, it's pretty impressive.
MODERN ERA CANDIDATES
Larry Allen: Guard for the Cowboys (1994-2005) and 49ers (2006-07). First team All-Pro seven consecutive seasons. Played every offensive line position except center. On NFL all-decade team of the 1990s and 2000s. Super Bowl XXX champion.
Jerome Bettis: Running back for the Rams (1993-95) and Steelers (1996-2005). Rookie of the Year in 1993 when he was second in the league in rushing. Led the Steelers in rushing eight seasons. Fifth in career rushing yards (13,662) when he retired. Two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler.
Tim Brown: Receiver and return man for the Raiders (1988-2003) and Bucs (2004). Led NFL in receptions in 1997. When he retired, his 14,934 receiving yards were second in NFL history, 1,094 catches were third and 100 TD catches were tied for third. Had four return TDs. Nine-time Pro Bowler.
Cris Carter: Receiver for the Eagles (1987-89), Vikings (1990-2001) and Dolphins (2002). Had more than 1,000 receiving yards in eight consecutive seasons. Set then-NFL record with 122 catches in 1994. Ranked second in receptions (1,101) and receiving TDs (130) when he retired. Eight-time Pro Bowler.
Edward DeBartolo Jr: Owner, 49ers (1977-2000). From 1981-98 team averaged 13 victories per season. Won 13 division titles and won five Super Bowls. Served on realignment and expansion committees.
Kevin Greene: Linebacker/defensive end for Rams (1985-92), Steelers (1993-95), 49ers (1997), Panthers (1996, 1998-99). First-team All-Pro with three different teams. His 160 sacks were third in NFL history when he retired. Had 26 fumble recoveries and five interceptions.
Charles Haley: Defensive end/linebacker for 49ers (1986-91, 1999) and Cowboys (1992-96). Only player in NFL history to be on five Super Bowl champions. Had 100 career sacks. Two-time NFC defensive player of the year. All-Pro at both positions.
Art Modell: Owner, Browns (1961-95) and Ravens (1996-2011). Won NFL championship in 1964 and Super Bowl XXXV. NFL president during NFL-AFL merger. Integral in getting NFL television deals. Died last September at age 87.
Jonathan Ogden: Offensive tackle for Ravens (1996-2007). Super Bowl XXXV champion. All-Pro six times, made Pro Bowl 11 times. Dominant left tackle in run-blocking and pass protection for 177 games.
Bill Parcells: Coach for Giants (1983-90), Patriots (1993-96), Jets (1997-99) and Cowboys (2003-06). Regular season record was 172-130-1, postseason was 11-8. Won Super Bowl XXV with Giants, took Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI. Two-time NFL coach of the year.
Andre Reed: Receiver for Bills (1985-99) and Redskins (2000). His 951 catches were third in NFL history when he retired. Seven-time Pro Bowl player, had 85 catches for 1,229 yards in postseason. Helped Bills to four Super Bowls, but they lost all four.
Warren Sapp: Defensive tackle for Bucs (1995-2003) and Raiders (2004-07). Despite playing on interior line, had 96.5 career sacks. 1999 NFL defensive player of the year. Won Super Bowl XXXVII. First-team All-Pro from 1999-2002, made seven Pro Bowls.
Will Shields: Guard for Chiefs (1993-2006). Never missed a game in 14 seasons. Chiefs were in playoffs six times during his career. Chosen for 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro three teams and second team four times.
Michael Strahan: Defensive ends for Giants (1993-2007). Had 141.5 sacks in 15 seasons. Was first-team All-Pro five times. Set single-season sack record (22.5 in 2001). Won Super Bowl XLII in his final game.
Aeneas Williams: Defensive back for Cardinals (1991-2000) and Rams (2001-04). Played cornerback for 12 seasons and safety for two. Made Pro Bowl at both positions, eight times overall. Had 55 interceptions, 807 yards and nine touchdowns.
Curley Culp: Senior candidate. Defensive tackle for Chiefs (1968-74), Oilers (1974-80) and Lions (1980-81). Won Super Bowl IV. NFL defensive player of the year in 1975. Six-time Pro Bowler.
Dave Robinson: Senior candidate. Linebacker for Packers (1963-72) and Redskins (1973-74). Won three consecutive NFL championships (1965-67) and two Super Bowls. Had 27 interceptions, was chosen for three Pro Bowls.
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