Adrian Peterson isn’t quite at full strength after undergoing groin surgery in January, but the Vikings running back expects to soon be healthy enough to join his teammates for the team’s voluntary offseason program.
“I can’t sit here and say that I’m back right now, but I am not far off at all,” Peterson said Wednesday.
Peterson missed two of the team’s final three games last season because of groin and foot injuries. He said he suffered the groin injury in the team’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 3, and it clearly affected him in the second half of the season. But Peterson still finished fifth in the NFL with 1,266 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games.
Peterson had groin surgery on Jan. 23. In a statement to announce the surgery, the Vikings said that William Meyers, the same doctor who performed Peterson’s sports hernia surgery last offseason, was “able to successfully repair Adrian’s abductor muscle while also doing a compartmental release.” The surgery was performed at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
It was the third consecutive offseason in which Peterson, who had his left knee reconstructed before his record-setting 2012 season, has gone under the knife.
Peterson said he initially had been hoping to avoid surgery for this groin injury.
“Originally it felt like a strained groin and gradually it continued to get worse and then we got to Baltimore [on Dec. 8] and that’s when I had the foot injury,” Peterson said. “It all came back from the previous groin injury. It felt like the foot injury was an extension of the groin, because I wasn’t able to cut and be as elusive as I needed to be. But just being the competitor that I am, I didn’t want to come out and say that.”
Peterson carried the ball 67 times for 357 yards and a touchdown in consecutive games in Weeks 12 and 13, but he had only 58 yards on 18 carries in the two games he played during the final four weeks of the season.
Peterson’s 4.5 rushing yards per carry in 2013 were more than half of a yard below his career average.
Peterson has 2,033 regular-season rushing attempts during his career and an additional 93 during postseason play. He eclipsed 10,000 career rushing yards last season and has 10,115 rushing yards and 86 rushing touchdowns in seven NFL seasons.
Peterson, who celebrated his 29th birthday three weeks ago, is working out and rehabbing his groin injury. He said Wednesday that he is feeling good and that his recovery is going well.
“When I’m not in Minnesota, I’m taking care of my body,” Peterson said in a conference call. “I’m working out extremely hard to be able to be productive for my team. Coming off the groin surgery, I was slowed down a little bit, but I’ve been able to recover a lot faster.”
Peterson said he hopes to join his teammates soon at Winter Park, where many of them are participating in the voluntary workouts organized by first-year coach Mike Zimmer.
“I can’t really put a date on it, but yeah, I do. I look forward to participating,” Peterson said. “Right now the most important thing is getting healthy. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m rehabbing. I’m working out still and trying to get the body back to where it needs to be.”
The Vikings revealed their preseason opponents Tuesday, with the first two games to be played at TCF Bank Stadium.
Exact dates are not yet set. The Vikings play Oakland on Aug. 7, 8 or 9; Arizona on Aug. 14, 15 or 16; at Kansas City on Aug 21, 22 or 23; and at Tennessee on Aug. 28 or 29.