Ever since his return to the practice field down in Mankato in early August, it seems as though all Adrian Peterson has been talking about is his health. It was centered on his surgically repaired knee for much of that time, but now it's his ankle that is the problem.
Peterson got his ankle twisted in the Tennessee game two weeks ago and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday because, as he put it, the pain in the ankle is nonstop. It subsides with rest but never totally goes away.
"Since I twisted it up and it happened, it's been hurting consistently," Peterson said. "Then we go out and play and (I) re-aggravate it – just cutting and doing things you're doing out there. It's sore, but you have to push through it."
Peterson had a strong showing against Washington Sunday, rushing 17 times for 79 yards and catching seven passes for 50 yards, but said the pain in his ailing ankle was worse this week after the game than it was the day after he initially hurt it against Tennessee. The pain is manageable, he says, but a constant reminder that something is wrong with his ankle.
"It was little worse waking up Monday and just feeling the beating you put on it the previous day," Peterson said. "It wasn't already healed 100 percent going into the game. When you've got a nagging injury like that, you've got to stay on top of it, get the rest, continue strengthening it – just do the necessary things to get through that push to Sunday."
From the outside looking in, it didn't appear as though Peterson was any worse for wear from the injury, aside from the occasional limping to the sideline after a drive. When the Vikings would get the ball back, he looked like his old self but said the pain is the worst when he is asked to make sharp cuts.
"It wasn't anything that kept me from breaking loose from someone, it was more so on cutting," Peterson said. "On downhill plays, power plays, (I wasn't) really being as explosive as I wanted to be up top to the hole. I kind of figured it would be like that, but I was able to play through it."
Peterson stressed several times Thursday that the key part of his preparation is just as much mental as physical. He is no stranger to pain and believes with mental toughness and physical toughness, he can push through the pain well enough to be effective.
"During the week it's a push, (there is) pain, but it's mind over matter when I'm out there," Peterson said. "You've just to push through it. This week, coming off the previous injury, it was more sore, so rest would be better."
Peterson said the plan is to put minimal strain on the ankle this week because he knows that the Arizona Cardinals won't pity him. The Cardinals are 4-2 on the strength of their defense, Peterson said, and he believes that the strength vs. strength matchup is a test he's ready to take head on.
"We definitely look at them as an aggressive defense, a good defense," Peterson said. "It's part of the reason they're in the position they're in at 4-2, But we run the ball here in Minnesota. It's going to be a challenge for us. We're going to accept the challenge and do what we've been doing."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
The Vikings got two of their best players, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen, back on the field…