One year ago, the biggest question heading into camp was what Adrian Peterson was going to be able to do after he blew out his knee. After he returned with a fury and silenced every critic and in the process almost left Eric Dickerson's rushing record in the dust the question this year is simple.
Is there anything Adrian Peterson can't do?
After injuring his knee in 2011 against Washington, Peterson targeted week one of the 2012 season for his return. He worked in the off season to rehab his torn ACL and MCL ligaments and just as he predicted, he was back for the season opening win over Jacksonville in which he carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns. He would return to have one of the best seasons in NFL history finishing with 2,097 yards leading the Vikings to the playoffs.
So what should the expectations be one year later for a man who appears to have super human strength?
Peterson says he's got a 2,500 yard season in him and while a 156 yard per game average seems so distant because it has never been done, if there is one player that has the ability, it is AP. The hope is that the offense will be a little more diverse with the improvement of the passing game, but in 16 games last year, he rushed more than 25 times in games only twice and carried under 20 times per game seven times. The point is, they didn't over use him and he still had the best season of his career.
So maybe, his prediction isn't too far off. He does have his entire offensive line fully intact from a year ago, and his quarterback is entering his third season and looks to improve the passing game which will force defenses to respect the air game as well. One of the biggest things learned from Peterson's amazing season a year ago was not to doubt him.
Here's how the 2013 opponents stacked up against the run last year.
New York Giants- 25th
Green Bay- 17th
Green Bay- 17th
After spending the 2008-2011 seasons with an average per carry between 4.4 and 4.8, Peterson sprinted to a 6.0 per carry average, a career best. He also caught 40 passes which was second best in his six year career. If he can come close to that pace in 2013, the Vikings will return to the playoffs.