One year ago today, Adrian Peterson faced the uphill climb that every athlete dreads. The best running back in the NFL was just 24 hours removed from laying on the Fed Ex field turf writhing in pain after tearing ligaments in his right knee. It put the exclamation point on a lost season marred in disappointment and a mere three wins.
A year later, the outlook is much different. Peterson has regained his number one running back status and is 208 yards away from Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record. More importantly his team is a win away from returning to the playoffs for the first time since they played in the NFC championship game in 2009.
Peterson is a medical marvel with his 1,898 yards and 11 touchdowns on 314 carries. He is doing all of this with defenses locked in on him knowing the Vikings passing game is extremely limited. Peterson has set a personal record for yards, and has continued to get stronger as the year has gone along.
For weeks, Peterson would address the media and say he wasn't completely 100%. Those questions about his knee have faded and are so far removed the sixth year back has answered those questions on the field and not at a podium.
His 23 rushes of more than 20 yards are tops in the NFL and he along with his mending knee have gotten stronger as the season has gone along. Peterson has rushed for at least 80 yards or scored in all but two games this season and as the yardage countdown ensues Sunday at Mall of America Field, Peterson looks to pick up on the success he enjoyed against Green Bay back in week 13.
Peterson racked up 210 yards through three quarters gashing the Packers for 10 yards per carry and burned the rivals from Wisconsin for an 82 yard score. From a career perspective, AP has rushed for an average of 112 yards against the pack and has topped 80 yards or scored in every career meeting but two.
While the Vikings playoff drive is at the top of the list of things to get done in the final game of the regular season against Green Bay, AP surpassing Dickerson would be an added bow to a season that no one saw coming.