Only the players with the most potential to succeed at the next level are drafted in the first round. The seventh overall pick of the first round coming out of the University of Oklahoma was projected to be one of the greatest running backs the league has ever seen. That was until a career-changing injury tore that dream right out of the hands of the man (Mihoces)named Adrian Peterson. December 24, 2011 is known as the dreaded day for every Minnesota Vikings fan. Peterson, while taking it in for a touchdown from the 1-yard line, was hit on the side of his left knee and was later diagnosed as tearing his ACL and MCL. Considering so many athletes never come back from an injury as severe as his, this seemed to be the worst possible thing that could happen to Adrian Peterson. But something about Peterson set him a part from every other athlete. Something about him screamed of greatness, this couldn’t be the end.

Adrian Peterson and his doctor, Dr. Andrews, took the risk of having surgery just six days after Peterson tore his ACL. This meant he was ahead of schedule and could begin his rehabilitation process, which takes “immense dedication and effort just to ensure return to normal activity” (Siebert). Being in the NFL requires much more than just normal activity. It requires one to be able to sprint, cut, and be able to take multiple excruciating hits all in one game. Most experts say that it can take up to nine months to return back to (Seifert) normal activity. But in order to play at NFL caliber it can take even longer. After just nine months, Peterson got to return to week 1 as the starting running back for Minnesota.

Being able to return in such short amount of time is not out of mere luck, it’s because of the hard work Peterson put into the rehabilitation process. Peterson himself stated, “The ACL injury… would be the toughest thing I’ve ever had… I had to put in a lot of hours of hard work, hard, to get back” (Mihoces). The typical motive for rehab in the ACL consists of increasing range of motion and strength in the knee, and most importantly being able to place confidence in the injured knee being able to block out the previous pain and fear of injury. Fortunately, Peterson was not the typical person; he was a super athlete, which is another contributor to his quick recovery.  Not only was it a quick recovery, when Peterson returned to the game just nine months later, he came back faster, more agile, and running with more passion than ever seen in the player.

Everyone had their doubts about Adrian Peterson as he came back a year after a severe injury for his 2012 season, but something was different about the way Peterson would run the ball once he returned. He seemed to be running with motivation and a determination to be the greatest player on the field on every single down. Every run had potential to be a huge touchdown run with this new fire burning inside of him. Peterson averaged a career high 6 yards per carry, finished with 12 rushing touchdowns, and ran for a career high of 2097 yards, only nine short of the all time single season rushing record. Peterson literally carried the team into the playoffs averaging 22 carries per game. It was evident how talented Peterson truly is, in his last regular season game against the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay purposely placed more defensive players inside the box in order to stop Peterson from having another blow up game. Instead, Adrian Peterson gained 199 rushing yards, had two touchdowns and pulled the Vikings with their struggling quarterback to another victory.

So many players now look to Peterson’s injury as hope for themselves. Peterson hit the bottom with his injury, with many people doubting his return and saying he will never be the same player before his injury. With all of the hard work he put in, he came back with one of the most memorable seasons in NFL history. With what happened last season, Peterson was able to teach us all a lesson that no matter how bad your situation may seem at the time, if you are willing to put in the work you can change for the better. “If you’re unfortunate to have that injury, don’t talk about what you’re going to do. Be about it and grind like you’ve never grinded before” (Skelton).


Mihoces, Gary. Adrian Peterson leads way in ACL recovery in NFL. 7 December 2012. 30 March 2013 <>.


Seifert, Kevin. Adrian Peterson: Best ACL recovery ever? 30 October 2012. 30 March 2013 <>.


Siebert, David. Adrian Peterson’s ACL Tear: A Closer Look at His Injury and Incredible Recovery. 19 December 2012. 30 March 2013 <>.


Skelton, Mo. Returning to Football After an ACL Injury: The Adrian Peterson Way. 5 January 2013. 30 March 2013 <>.



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