Last year this time, Adrian Peterson was running hills and racing Percy Harvin as Peterson rehabilitated the surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while his teammates went through drills during offseason practices.
This year, despite having surgery to repair a sport hernia in early February that he played through most of the second half of the 2012 season, he is already on the field and taking handoffs.
"I'm pretty much 100 percent. You know, me knowing my body I'd like to be a little stronger in some areas. But I'm feeling great," Peterson said.
"Just being able to be involved in OTAs and come out here and participate with the guys, just that competition level feels good. It feels a lot better than last year."
It took Peterson about six weeks before he could begin lifting weights again, but his rehabilitation this year was "nothing" compared to the knee injury last year.
"It was a cakewalk compared to recovering from the ACL and what I had to go through to bounce back from that," he said.
With people questioning when he would return last year and how effective he might be, Peterson came up nine yards short of breaking the NFL's all-time single-season rushing record. He had 2,097 yards rushing.
He did much of the damage while playing through the sports hernia.
"It was a little wear and tear towards the end of the season. And as each game came along, I could kind of feel it getting a little worse. But mind over matter, you know?" Peterson said. "So I just continued to push and dealt with it."
Peterson was limited in carries for only one game – against the Houston Texans, when he rushed for 86 yards, the only time in the final 10 games of the season he didn't surpass 100 yards in a single game. It was a stretch that included two games with at least 200 yards rushing and seven with at least 150 yards.
He said he gained a new respect for core muscle injuries "because they work so much of your body," but he's back participating in practices and lifting weights. Of course, he said he is stronger now than he was before the injury.
"When I started, I kind of started off light, trying to take away some of the pressure from the lower abdominal with having my legs on the bench and doing some different exercises. Trying to keep the weight off and focusing on that area," he said.
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.
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