Souhan: Peterson's road back has come full circle

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2012 - 6:36 AM

We learned a lot about him 9 1/2 months ago at FedEx Field. Now he returns, back in one piece and as confident as ever.

The last time Adrian Peterson visited FedEx Field in Landover, Md., he writhed on the turf, as other players knelt and prayed. He rode the medical cart off the field, knowing there was a "99.9" percent chance he had torn ligaments in his left knee.

He sat in the locker room, hearing cheers as distant echoes, already anticipating months of tedious recovery.

On Dec. 24, 2011, at the lowest point of his professional career, Adrian Peterson called over Jeff Anderson, the Vikings director of corporate communications.

Peterson had noticed a kid wearing his jersey behind the bench. The kid, Keenan Wynn, had hung a banner listing Peterson's autograph as one of his Christmas wishes.

"Mr. Anderson came out in the fourth quarter and said, 'Excuse me, do you mind if I borrow that jersey for a moment?'" said Dr. Michael Wright, who mentors Wynn.

Peterson autographed the jersey, wishing Wynn, "Merry Christmas."

"I started to tear up," Wright said. "I know a lot of the athletes, and that moment made me feel like a kid again. Never had a player of that caliber, at a time when he was injured and worried that he may never play again, think of doing something so generous."

Peterson keeps giving, in so many ways.

Refusing to accept the logical and conservative timetables that would have had him easing his way into the season following his knee surgery, Peterson has rushed 96 times for 420 yards in five games. "I have the drive to be the best ever to play," he said Thursday. "I couldn't just go through the motions. I had a fire burning in me."

Ten months after an injury that may have slowed a lesser athlete, Peterson is eying another decade in the league, noting that a certain Redskins linebacker has lasted. "London Fletcher is 37," Peterson said. "I'm 27. That's 10 more years. I feel like I can go for a long time. There's a lot you can do with your body when you're well-conditioned. Herschel Walker, today, I'm sure he's benching over 400 pounds and they say he just ran a 4.4 or 4.3 40."

Buoyed by his team's 4-1 start and Percy Harvin's transformation from versatile oddity to star, Peterson calls himself and Harvin the two best players in the league. "I know talent," he said. "I can watch Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and see the difference."

Who's Pippen and who's Jordan? "There are two Jordans on this team," he said. "I'm not trying to be cocky. I'm just very confident in my abilities."

And Harvin's. He remembered watching the national championship game in January 2009, when Harvin played with a hairline fracture in his ankle yet looked like the best player on the field as his Florida Gators beat Oklahoma. "I watched that game, and I knew he was a star," Peterson said. "When he came out in the draft, I knew there was a chance for him to drop to us."

The Vikings once landed Randy Moss with the 21st pick in the 1998 draft. Because of injury concerns, Peterson fell to them at No. 7 in 2007. They landed Harvin with the 22nd pick in 2009.

"The way they evaluate talent here, I knew we wouldn't pass on him," Peterson said. "They didn't pass on me. Those three names right there -- c'mon, how are those guys not taken in the top five?

"Percy is the best player I've ever played with."

Peterson's return to FedEx Field is one of the prominent NFL story lines this week. He shrugs off the memories as if they were arm tackles. "I was in disbelief," he said. "But by the time we took the flight back, I was thinking about rehabbing it. I turned the page."

But not before leaving a Christmas present for someone he had never met.

"That was a life-changing experience for Keenan," Wright said. "He has Mr. Peterson's jersey hanging now. He's doing better in school and he's excellent in sports.

"When Keenan wanted to meet Adrian, I told him, 'If you believe in something bad enough, it will happen.' Mr. Peterson made it happen."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • VIKINGS WEEK 6

    3:25 p.m. Sunday at Washington TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close