Adrian Peterson's Ability to Dominate Through Injury Nothing Short of Amazing

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Adrian Peterson's Ability to Dominate Through Injury Nothing Short of Amazing
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Adrian Peterson is easily the best running back in pro football.

Adrian Peterson has to be from another universe.

Because the 2012 season he performed cannot justifiably be described in words.

Why?

Well, for one, Peterson had a totally damaged knee at the ACL and MCL in 2011, per ESPN.com:

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the MRI also revealed that Peterson tore the MCL in his left knee as well. According to the source, the team intends to confirm the torn MCL at Monday's news conference.

"Anytime you take a blow to the knee like that, you're concerned about the ACL, MCL," Peterson said as he stood on crutches in the locker room. "I'm trying to stay as positive as I can."

Secondly, Peterson's injury occurred in December of that year, which significantly reduced his recovery time for the 2012 campaign.

By comparison, Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs suffered his ACL injury the prior September. So, Peterson had roughly two-to-three months less than Charles to get ready for Week 1 of the 2012 season.

Miraculously, he was prepared for opening kickoff and immediately looked to be 100 percent—as this Week 1 run late in the second quarter versus the Jacksonville Jaguars will indicate.

Peterson then proceeded to work defenses each week all season long.

However, another obstacle would occur in the form of another injury. Per ESPN.com on Thursday:

Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson had surgery Thursday to repair a sports hernia, the team announced.

The Vikings began listing Peterson on their injury report with an "abdomen" injury before their Week 15 game at the St. Louis Rams (he ran for 212 yards in that game). The 2012 NFL MVP, however, told ESPN's Josina Anderson in a telephone interview on Thursday that he suffered the injury in Week 11 against the Lions, "but I didn't know the extent I was hurt then."

Still, Peterson wasn't slowing down and defenses weren't having any success.

Despite constantly facing stacked boxes of eight and sometimes nine defenders, Peterson averaged six yards per rushing attempt, gained 2,097 yards and scored 12 times on the ground.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

From Week 7 through Week 15 (Week 11, idle), he hit over 100 yards eight-consecutive games and also accounted for 217 receiving yards.

The overall performance earned him another All-Pro selection and trip to the Pro Bowl. Factor in the injuries he overcame while leading the Vikings to a postseason berth and he was named the 2012 NFL MVP.

In an article by Robert Klemko of the USA Today:

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he plans on winning the NFL's MVP award again next year, but doesn't plan on being at the third annual NFL Honors ceremony to accept it.

"Hopefully next year I'll win this award again because I'll be winning the most important award, the team award, the Super Bowl,'" he said.

Unsurprisingly, Peterson also received incredible support from the Twitterverse:

 

How is he not bionic?

 


Doing this math and 48.6 percent of Peterson's rushing yards gained after contact

 

 

Solidifying status even more as pro football's premier RB

 

 

Not just this year, but every year

 

 

Any headline involving the topic of immorality will suffice

 

 

Making a strong case for the best RB ever

 

 

For anyone that has gone through an injury, regardless of the extremity, it's a great feeling when getting back to 100 percent.

Peterson, though, competes in a league where the human body isn't meant to collide at such speeds. In fact, NFL collisions have been compared to car crashes.

Per Alan Schwarz of the New York Times in January of 2009:

The tackle, the art of making the ball carrier not stay in motion, is football’s most primeval action. Amusing physicists the way batting averages do actuaries, collisions lead the highlight reels, impart the force of a deadly car crash, and rely upon kinematics that date to a considerably different big bang.

“The tackler doesn’t want his body to be a big spring — these players lower their shoulder and tense up and launch to make their force go up,” said Stefan Duma, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech who has studied the similarities between football collisions and car crashes. “It’s like trying to break down a door — you try to get all your mass behind you and drive it through one point. You want to get all your mass to act as one mass, one missile.”

Not to mention Ravens safety Bernard Pollard's comments prior to Super Bowl XLVII, via Kevin Manahan of the USA Today:

Bernard Pollard is known for hard hits, and he leveled one at the NFL this week when he predicted the league wouldn't be around in 30 years, because the crackdown on ferocious hits will turn off fans.

"There's a car crash every play," he said. "Those helmets are popping, those pads are hitting. This is a grown man's game.

The running back position is easily the most physical imposing as well.

When a ball-carrier nears age 30, that is the expected threshold when their body gradually slows down. For certain have there been exceptions through NFL history, but the majority decline even more after age 30.

 

(Source, Running backs chart courtesy of ESPN's Tristan H. Cockcroft in June of 2008)

Age

Carries

RushYds

YPC

RushTD

ScrimYds

TotTD

1,000s

10s

23-

242.3

1064.4

4.39

8.28

1337.6

9.44

48.5

40.6

24

267.3

1187.8

4.44

8.42

1543.3

9.60

69.4

49.0

25

297.4

1306.9

4.39

9.48

1659.5

10.92

71.4

42.9

26-27

298.3

1282.7

4.30

9.16

1631.0

10.48

73.5

41.8

28-29

279.2

1188.1

4.26

8.59

1494.6

9.86

53.9

30.3

30

241.1

1000.2

4.15

6.56

1269.4

7.64

33.3

26.2

31

206.4

858.8

4.16

5.72

1101.4

6.59

26.5

14.7

32

176.6

682.0

3.86

5.08

911.2

5.81

10.3

17.2

33+

162.4

601.9

3.71

5.29

753.2

5.78

7.7

12.8

RushYds: Rushing yards; YPC: Yards per carry; RushTD: Rushing touchdowns; ScrimYds: Yards from scrimmage; TotTD: Total rushing and receiving touchdowns; 1,000s: Percentage of players in the study who managed a 1,000-rushing yard season; 10s: Percentage of players in the study who managed a 10-total touchdown season

How much will Peterson rush for in 2013?

Submit Vote vote to see results

 

As for Peterson, he'll be turning 28 years old before the 2013 NFL season kicks off.

The chart's relevance is regarding the brutality of the game for running backs as they age.

Now, equate Peterson's injuries to the formula of pro football's physical nature and it amplifies his 2012 season to an unfathomable level. Not to mention, the Vikings were a run-heavy offense and Christian Ponder only averaged 172 passing yards per contest.

Minnesota ranked No. 31 in passing offense yet Peterson's monopoly of touches made for a predictable offense. Nevertheless, he continued to dazzle opponents and fans throughout the NFL landscape.

Moving forward and this season proves that Peterson will pull and encore performance in 2013: Because No. 28 playing a full season at 100 percent isn't fair to the rest of pro football.

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