It is one of the great comeback stories in sports. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore the ACL and the MCL in his left knee during a Christmas Eve game at FedEx Field against the Redskins. It was a miserable end to a miserable season for the Vikings, who had to wonder whether -- at that late date -- the injury would keep their star running back out of action early in the 2012 season, too.
Apparently not. Not only was Peterson ready to start the season on time, he is now dominating. In an era of star quarterbacks and high-powered passing offenses, Peterson is proving the running game still matters. His 171-yard effort in a win over Detroit on Sunday has him at 1,128 yards for the season with seven touchdowns.
In the last four weeks, Peterson's worst game was 123 rushing yards and a touchdown in a loss to Tampa Bay. His quick return is inspiring awe around the league.
"I had ACL surgery," said NBC football analyst Rodney Harrison, who tore his ACL and MCL in 2005 while with the New England Patriots. "What Adrian Peterson is doing right now is absolutely amazing."
Peterson was back at practice Aug. 12 -- less than eight months after surgery. And he hasn't missed a beat. He already has 13 runs of 20 yards or more this season. No one else has more than seven.
Peterson is averaging 112.8 yards per game. Only Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (100.5) is over 100 yards per game. Houston's Arian Foster is third at 96.9 yards per game. As good as he has been in his six seasons, Peterson is only 632 yards away from setting his career best (1,760 in 2008). He has six games left to beat that mark and maybe become the seventh man in history to break 2,000 yards in a season.
- Brian McNally