Adrian Peterson on resting injuries: 'It's all about the push to Sunday'
Always nursing some sort of injury, Adrian Peterson rests during the week so he can play on game day.
By BRIAN HALLFS North
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Playing against a fully healthy Adrian Peterson might just be unfair to the rest of the NFL.
After all, a less-than-healthy Peterson is hard enough to stop.
Reconstructive knee surgery, sports hernia, hamstring and groin injuries -- none of it seems to slow down the reigning MVP and league's leading rushing.
"Just tells you how amazing he is," Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Not only does he play, he plays extremely well. It's just incredible when you think of what those injuries can do for any position, lest a running back. He's a special guy. His body is definitely unique. He's different in a lot of ways."
Peterson sat out of practice on Thursday as he rests an injured groin he's dealt with for almost four weeks. The time off has allowed Peterson to focus on recovery during the week and he hasn't missed a game this season. While playing through the groin injury, Peterson has rushed for 358 yards the past two weeks to assume the league lead in rushing with 1,208 yards.
Sitting out practice Wednesday and Thursday, Peterson is expected to return to practice Friday, just as he did last week before rushing 35 times for 211 yards in an overtime win against the Chicago Bears.
"It's been tremendous to kind of relax, let my body heal and rejuvenate," Peterson said. "It's all about the push to Sunday. You know, I would much rather be out there practicing with those guys, but I do what I have to do now."
In fact, Peterson has started 28 straight games since missing only one start in 2011 after he suffered a torn knee ligament. He returned from major knee surgery in time for the 2012 season. After he won the MVP award last year, he underwent offseason surgery and it was revealed he played through a sports hernia during his historic finish to last season when he fell just eight yards shy of the single-season rushing record.
This year, it's been hamstring and groin injuries.
Peterson has been a bit hesitant to discuss the extent of his groin injury and whether he has the trademark explosiveness that led him to become the third fastest player to reach the 10,000-yard mark, an accomplishment he reached last week in his seventh NFL season.
Against the Bears, Peterson went over 200 yards for the fifth time in his career -- one off the all-time league record -- with a long run of 23 yards and just two longer than 20 yards.
"I know this, some of those 20-yard runs could be 40-, 60-yard runs, we've seen that," Frazier said. "But he's working as hard as he can. It's going to be tough to get 100 percent because you need more time than two or three days."
Peterson does lead the league, according to Pro Football Focus, with 16 runs of 15-plus yards this season. Pro Football Focus also has Peterson leading the league in yards after contact and causing the second-most missed tackles, one behind Marshawn Lynch's 57.
Peterson said Thursday he still enjoys playing without a fullback in front of him as he did earlier in his career. But he's come around on the use of the fullback and his preference depends on the play.
"I still kind of don't like it now," Peterson said. "It all depends on the play call; sometimes it's good to have that guy in front of you when it's a run, where you're able to be more patient, let that guy go through and open things up. … Just for example, 42 lead, we can run that out of the ‘I' formation or single back and I like it either way. Fullback doesn't really doesn't bother me when I play when he's in there. It varies."
Having fullback Jerome Felton in front of him and getting used to pulling linemen or tight ends has been an adjustment for Peterson.
"I can say for myself, I'm just so quick to get to shoot the gun sometimes," Peterson said. "Plays when you have two pulls or three pulls in front of you, you have to be more patient and I haven't had a long time over my career being patient. So that's why I sometimes don't like the fullback in front of me. So when I work on myself, I try to be more patient. You see last week, you've got Jerome pulling around, you've got Carlson pulling around and I'm doing my job of being more patient and allowing those guys to get in front of me, and you see how it affects the run game. So it worked out well."
The 35 carries last week were a career-high for Peterson, who said he could have handled at least 50 carries. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the team didn't enter the game with the plan to get Peterson so many carries and he gets concerned about overworking Peterson.
"I do, Adrian doesn't," Musgrave said. "Adrian, like he said, would prefer 50, 55, but I do have a concern. I don't want to go over and beyond what's smart with him."
Peterson isn't worried about a certain number of carries.
"Whatever it takes to help my team win, I want to do it," Peterson said.