Adrian Peterson (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
Adrian Peterson’s return to practice 7½ months after major knee surgery impresses his teammates, even those who have been through the surgery a time or two themselves.
Adrian Peterson didn’t take his comeback from torn ligaments in his left knee lying down, and he wasn’t happy his defensive teammates laid down for him upon his return to the practice field this week.
Peterson, who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, continues to ramp up his practice regimen. But, despite Vikings coach Leslie Frazier instructing the defenders not to touch Peterson during his two full-pads practices this week, the star running back wasn’t amused when those defenders essentially took a knee on his first carry Tuesday afternoon.
“Leslie warns us all so we all just go down on all fours, make sure nobody touched him,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “He was mad about that. He doesn’t want anybody to let up on him. You know him and his mentality.”
Peterson knew the defenders weren’t going to hit him Tuesday when he saw Frazier talking to them before his Peterson’s first full-team action, but he still tried to lobby for more – much in the same way he lobbied unsuccessfully to start training camp without limitations.
“He got mad,” quarterback Christian Ponder said of Peterson. “He was like, ‘Come on, coach. Let them hit me.’ He’s such a competitive guy. … That’s why we love him. That’s why he’s Adrian Peterson.”
Peterson took 10 snaps on Tuesday. That increased to 13 snaps during full-team work on Wednesday, the final day of training camp in Mankato for the Vikings. Those reps included four carries, one dropped pass and what appeared to be a missed blitz pickup that left Peterson walking away taking ownership of the apparent mistake.
Peterson’s dropped pass – a swing pass to the sideline during which he bobbled the ball several times before dropping it – led to Greenway immediately giving him a quick but powerful ribbing.
“What an (expletive) bad athlete, 28,” Greenway needled to Peterson, referencing the running back’s jersey number.
After practice, Greenway said it’s all part of the football culture between competitive teammates.
“You’ve never heard anything until you hear us talk. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “You couldn’t have a more talented versus a less talented guy talking back and forth to each other.”
Frazier said Wednesday that he is considering allowing Peterson to start taking contact from defenders in practice next week back at the team’s Winter Park practice facility.
“Oh, I can’t wait,” Greenway quipped.
But, all kidding aside, Peterson’s teammates know how valuable he is to the team. His road to recovery, from Dec. 30 surgery to practicing in mid-August, has been impressive.
“It’s surprising if it was anybody else, but it’s Adrian Peterson. So nothing can really surprise you with him,” Ponder said.
“He’s not hesitating to cut. He’s not hesitating to do anything out there, so that’s a good sign.”
Greenway, who had surgery to repair torn ACLs in college and in his rookie season in 2006, knows all about the process of building the athlete back up after the injury.
“He looks good. Even today, to me, having gone through the ACL twice, it’s pretty amazing to see how he’s moving around and how looks and his attitude, how it’s been through the whole process,” he said. “He’s one of the best players in the NFL and he’s one of our team leaders, so we’d like to have him back.”
It seems only a matter of time before his return to game action, and that time is likely coming soon.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.