Adrian Peterson (Andy King/Getty)
Adrian Peterson said he takes it as a compliment when he hears about people who think he took performance-enhancing drugs to recover from a torn ACL and nearly set the single-season rushing record. Chalk it up to another installment in the power of Peterson’s positive approach.
Adrian Peterson has heard the rumors … about himself.
There was even a Twitter account created solely to advance the idea that the Vikings’ star running back must have been on performance-enhancing drugs to come back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament the way he did in 2012.
And, now, we find out that even a fellow NFL player asked Peterson about it, despite no proof that he ever took PEDs. Peterson’s reaction, as usual, was to turn a negative allegation into a positive interaction.
During his first meeting with the Detroit Lions last year, according to what Peterson told CBSSports.com, a Detroit linebacker said to Peterson: “Whatever you were juicing on, let me know. I need it.”
Peterson’s reply? “Man, it’s a lot of prayer. The juice of God.”
It was Peterson’s fourth game back after tearing the ACL and medial collateral ligament in his left knee in December 2011. He ran 21 times for 102 yards against the Lions on Sept. 30, 2012, his first 100-yard game since the knee injury and ensuing surgery.
Peterson told CBSSports.com the linebacker was touched by his response when the two talked during their next meeting.
“It was like turning a negative into a positive,” Peterson said. “To be honest with you, it makes me feel good when people say little stuff like that, and I’m sure it happens all the time. I guess I am performing that well that people think I’m juicing, that I am taking something. That really shows me how much God has blessed me to be able to come back and play the way I played. To me, it’s a compliment (the PED talk). I’ve always been an honest person. I never cheated the system. I am big on taking advantage of my natural abilities and applying work ethic to it to be able to climb the highest level. People make that decision to do that (PEDS), but I’m not that individual. I feel like I’d be cheating myself. And things I’ve accomplished would be void. That’s not what I am about.”
The next time the Vikings played the Lions, Peterson was in the midst of an incredible run of games that propelled him to the top of the rushing charts. He finished the season with 2,097 yards, eight yards short of tying Eric Dickerson’s single-season record.
Peterson finished with 100 yards rushing or more in nine of his final 10 games of the regular season, including seven with 150 or more and two with 200 or more. In that second game against the Lions, on Nov. 11, he had 27 carries for 171 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown.
“Yeah, it does make me proud,” he said of his comeback. “God put us here for a reason. When I have this platform, not only this but to be a role model to kids, to be able to inspire people through my life trials that I have overcome – even more so off the field. To have people look up to me and say, ‘You know what, Adrian came back from the ACL and everybody else doubted him. He beat the odds.’ It feels good to know that God gave me the ability and the mindset to focus, to be able to beat what other people say about the injury and set a mark for our youth and the world to be able to look at. If he did it, I can do it as well. That’s what it’s all about. If I didn’t have the type of season I had, people would still think for sure it’s nine months to a year (and) two years truly before you come back from an ACL injury. That’s not the case now. So it’s good to know I was able to set that standard.”
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.