To be clear, Peterson’s positivity isn’t unshakable. Frazier absorbed the brunt of the running back’s ire on the first night of training camp when the Vikings made the medically-advised-but-still-tough-to-deliver decision that Peterson would open camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
It was a move that would confine Peterson to doing strength and conditioning and additional rehabilitation work on the side.
Like a cartoon character, the smoke blew from Peterson’s ears with a train-whistle shriek.
Recalls Frazier: "Ohhh. He was livid. [It was] ‘You’re holding me back! Why are you doing this to me?’"
"I was hot," Peterson confesses. "Furious. I can’t deny that. It was a lose-lose for me. I no longer had control. It’s not like I was going to refuse going on PUP. But I was angry because I felt I was ready. I knew I was ready."
Still, rather than act out or pout, Peterson lay down that night and figured out a way to win. He was having no luck quelling his urge to be back in practice with the guys.
"So I changed my view of the situation," Peterson says. "It was like, if I’m going to be working out over here on the side, I’ll work way harder than those guys are practicing."
Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and strength coach Tom Kanavy knew they would have a rodeo bull to tame. But who doesn’t like a challenge to break up the monotony of training camp? So with hopes of channeling Peterson’s intensity in the right direction, Sugarman and Kanavy plotted numerous ways to exhaust the running back.
Instead, it was Peterson exhausting every test, every drill, every apparatus they found for him.
Kanavy says he went through "the whole toy box of extra stuff." Quick foot ladders, speed ladders, kettle bells, battle ropes.
"We got to the point where we started taking the weights on the field," Kanavy says, "because Adrian had already blown through the resistant running and the parachute running and the pushing sleds, pulling sleds.
"If it had gone on any longer, I was going to have to start throwing rocks at him or something. Because we’d used everything else we had."
The Vikings kept waiting for the moment where Peterson would return from the previous day’s grueling workout and acknowledge significant fatigue or soreness or burnout.
It never came.
Says Sugarman: "Sometimes the most fun part of this job is trying to challenge these guys, to try to break them. Adrian’s not breakable."
• • •
Adrian Peterson has been given a golden opportunity this season. And the proper perspective to soak it all in.