Adrian Peterson Speaks About Rehab From Knee Injury

Credit: Aj Mansour

On Wednesday, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson participated in a brief work-out in front of reporters to show his progress from ACL surgery, in addition to providing an update alongside trainer Eric Sugarman.

Kevin Seifert of NFC North was at Winter Park and provided details on AP’s workout:

For…15 minutes, Peterson demonstrated the extent of his progress by running two sets of sideline-to-sideline sprints.  He performed a series of box jumps, moved laterally to catch a rolling soccer ball and ran tight circles around a wide hula hoop.

The scene was impressive for a player 19 weeks removed from tearing two ligaments in his knee.  As he caught his breath afterwards, Peterson reiterated his intent to be ready for the Vikings’ Week 1 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, by far the early side of the typical range for injuries as significant as his.

Trainer Eric Sugarman credits AP for “attacking his rehab:”

“We are happy with where he is at.  We are very optimistic about his full recovery down the line; we are, however, going to remain realistic about our expectations moving forward, the next four months, getting from May 9th to September 9th….I’m not going to say with certainty that Adrian is going to play in our first game.  That wouldn’t be fair to me, to him, or to this organization, that’s a long way off from now and we certainly have a long road to go to get to that point.”

However, Peterson made it clear he expects to be on the field September 9th:

“..I will be very surprised (if I’m not playing in that first game).  I have been ahead of the schedule since day one.  The staff here in Minnesota, the staff down in Houston, they have been doing a great job of just pushing me and pushing me, but having that limit on it, knowing I want to do this, I just have to play it slow and it will come.  From square one I have been ahead of the curve.  So, me personally, because that’s my goal, I set my goals and expectations high, and that first game against Jacksonville I plan on being back.  It will be disappointing if I am not.

“I am set on (getting back for the first game)…I have my goals and my whole life I have been setting my goals and pushing forward and I have been successful at doing that my whole life.  I have been smart, don’t get me wrong, I have been smart about the process and I am four months out.”

Peterson understands he still has a ways to go to be ready for full-contact on the football field:

“(My confidence in my knee) is light-years from where it was four months ago.  I am definitely getting more confident, just the strength and being able to get back to doing some of the things that I am used to doing, as far as cutting and being more explosive, but I am still four months out and there is still more confidence that I can gain and continue to step up my game in rehab.  Eric and his staff are doing a good job of keeping me level.  Right now I get to the point where I want to do more than I need to be doing, and those guys know my limits, and they push me to it.

“(My biggest hurdle), I would say, (is) just the ability to get back to where I want; the cutting ability and being as explosive as I used to be, and better. That’s the goal, I feel like that is the challenge right now.  I think I’m doing a pretty good, as far as running.  Conditioning-wise I feel like I have a long ways to go, but I am making strides.  The biggest hurdle I am trying to jump right now is being explosive, being able to cut like I once did before.”

Sugarman reiterates AP will be careful when it comes to the knee to prevent a huge setback:

“He is to the point now where he is just about safe to do just about anything, so we gradually ramp him up to functional activity and when we get to the point where he is comfortable and has normal strength back to the other side or better than the other side and can function as he needs to.

“He realizes now that there is too much to lose by doing something foolish the past four months and the next four months. he has been pretty good, you have to pull back on the reigns once in a while to remind him, but he has been pretty good about it and I am on record as saying that it will continue.”

When AP does return to the field for the Vikings, he wants to be able to go 100% with no restriction or limitations:

“To be honest, I don’t see myself in a limited role (in the first game).  I want to be out there full throttle but when the time comes, we’ll play the cards how they lay.  I feel like I’ll be able to go out there and help my team in whatever way the suit fits and that’s where my mindset is going to stay at.

“(The mentality of me wanting to be a workhorse) is just the way I’m wired.  I’ve been this way since I was young…I always wanted to be the best at whatever I did…After 17 years of that, it becomes a part of you and is instilled in me.”

It seems like AP is on the right track and the trainers and coaches will ensure he doesn’t speed it up to a point where it might cause a set back.  As of now, I would pencil Peterson in the line-up, in some capacity, versus Jacksonville.”

Some other tidbits from the press conference:

  • Adrian received advice from teammate Chad Greenway, who tore his ACL in 2006:

“He was telling me, ‘Hey, when that third month comes, you’re going to start feeling good. You’re going to feel like you can do more than you need to be doing.’ He just cautioned me to be careful and during that time, to really let it rest and don’t rush because he knows how I am too…That advice helped.”

  • Thoughts on Vikings offseason and what kind of motivation is it to get back to the team and help them win games:

“I pay attention to (the offseason moves) a little bit. The draft is more of my thing, to see the new faces and guys that we bring in and I feel like Rick Spielman and his guys did a great job adding some new pieces in here…I’ll be anxious to meet them and make sure they have the right mindset that we’re heading in and that we’re building this organization into a championship team.

“(The fact the team needs me to win games) is the biggest part of my motivation.  I know how much I mean to this organization and just my mentality, I want to be out there to help my team and to help this organization accomplish the ultimate goal.”

  • Bounty situation:

“I bet (bounties) won’t happen again.  I feel for those guys, (Jonathan) Vilma, Will Smith, and those guys that got punished.  I wouldn’t wish that on them at all but to be honest my first thought was, ‘I’m sure guys will think twice about doing this again.’ It was unfortunate, but hey, it happened.”

*Quotes by Adrian Peterson and Eric Sugarman came from press conference

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