Wiederer: Peterson gleefully defies odds in recovery

  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 6:47 PM

His performance against the Jaguars was simply mind-boggling -- even by the running back's outsized standards.

hide

Adrian Peterson basked in the moment as he was introduced against Jacksonville.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Only four seconds remained last Sunday when Blair Walsh trotted onto Mall of America Field for the first high-pressure kick of his NFL career.

The Vikings trailed Jacksonville 23-20 after surrendering a demoralizing late touchdown.

Walsh faced a 55-yard game-tying kick, longer than all but one of the field goals he made during his four years at Georgia. The adrenaline and anxiety were quickly elevating.

Until Adrian Peterson approached on his way off the field, offering an encouraging bop to Walsh's head, a thump so forceful it actually turned the kicker's helmet a few inches.

Walsh's first thought: "Wow, that's ridiculous."

The rookie's startled laugh broke the tension. He made the kick with ease.

"I don't think Adrian knows how strong he is," Walsh said.

Yep, sources have confirmed it. Peterson continues redefining ridiculous. And nope, he doesn't seem to know his own strength.

A week ago we were wondering whether he would even play against the Jaguars, just a little more than eight months after he underwent major surgery on his left knee. Now, with the Vikings in Indianapolis, we're wondering whether Peterson is already set to take on a full workload.

Maybe a 22-, 23-carry day?

Seems hopeful. But don't rule anything out.

Not with the way Peterson ran a week ago, using his confidence and self-professed faith to run right past the hesitation that should be slowing him down right now.

Now the question must be asked: Will Peterson's rapid recuperation be a source of inspiration for a team trying to prove it can accomplish more than a huge legion of outside doubters believe?

Or will Peterson's extraordinary progress skew the realistic view for how quickly dramatic upturns can occur?

After all, for months Vikings fans have been lectured to have patience with this young squad, reminded that after a season as frustrating and failure-filled as last year's, remarkable recoveries just don't happen in the blink of an eye.

Except when they do.

Last week, Peterson delivered 17 carries for 84 yards with two touchdowns. And had receiver Stephen Burton held his block just a second longer on Peterson's longest run of the day, a 20-yarder in overtime, the chaos at the Metrodome may have culminated with a 62-yard game-ending touchdown run.

"It was real close," Peterson said.

Which means Peterson was real close to having himself a 130-yard, three-TD day. In his first game back after ACL surgery.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has watched the film of the Vikings' opener and sees little difference between the Peterson of last week and the one who chewed him up for 166 yards from scrimmage in 2009 when Pagano was defensive coordinator in Baltimore.

"He's a superhuman guy," Pagano said. "Just a rare, rare, rare talent."

Pagano was particularly impressed with Peterson's first touchdown run, a 3-yarder that required an instinctive and sharp cut back left.

On the Vikings' next drive, Peterson scored again, launching himself into the end zone from the 3, then quickly doing a back somersault to pop to his feet.

Yes, Peterson experienced some minor soreness and tightness in his knee after the game. But, he said, that was to be expected. He also believes he's only operating at about 95 percent right now.

So just what is missing in that final 5 percent?

"Just being more explosive with my strength," Peterson said. "It doesn't sound like much from the outside looking in. But I know my game and I know where I want to be. And it's going to be huge once I get to 100 percent. Like night and day. Seriously."

Most refreshing? With every reason to be boastful, Peterson hasn't launched a vain "Look at me" campaign. Instead, he's simply asked outsiders to understand the unwavering self-belief he's used in his comeback.

"I had my vision, I knew what I wanted to do, and that's all that matters," he said.

Ridiculous. Guy doesn't know his own strength.

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Colts' rookie Luck is no beginner

    Sunday September 16, 2012

    The Vikings face a rookie QB on Sunday who, despite a rough debut, is mature beyond his years.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 2 3rd Prd 20:00
Vancouver 4
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 FINAL
Colorado 87
Washington St 65 2nd Half 0:20
UCLA 70
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close