The physical gifts that allowed Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to return better than ever from major knee surgery apparently run in the family.
Peterson, in Hawaii for his fifth Pro Bowl, told NFL.com that comparisons can’t be made between his return from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee and the recovery ahead for dynamic Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who tore the ACL and lateral collateral ligament in his right knee during a playoff game earlier this month.
Peterson, who returned to game action just more than eight months after his surgery and rushed for the second-highest single-season total in NFL history with 2,097 yards, said he had a built-in advantage.
“This is also a matter of genetics,” Peterson told NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington this week. “Look at my dad. And my mom’s side, my aunts and uncles, they’re all ripped. At 50 years old, they’ve got six packs and eight packs.
“My body just heals differently. I know it has a lot to do with rehabilitation and work ethic — but I really credit my genetics for my recovery as much as anything else.”
There you have it. The league’s best running back, known very well for his own chiseled physique, credits good genes. As for Griffin, who has now had two ACL surgeries on his right knee, Peterson says fans need to be patient about making comparisons.
“That’s not fair,” Peterson told Darlington. “Everybody’s body heals differently. That’s something nobody is going to understand.”
Peterson, coincidentally, injured his knee on the same field as Griffin. In a late December 2011 game at Washington, Peterson’s left leg was planted in the FedEx Field turf when Washington safety De’Jon Gomes’ helmet hit the side of Peterson’s knee. He had surgery a week later on Dec. 30 and was back in action for the season-opener on Sept. 9, 2012.
Peterson started slow, rushing for more than 100 yards just once in his first six games before putting together one of the most astounding 10-game runs in NFL history. He topped 100 rushing yards in nine of those games and surpassed 200 yards twice while falling just eight yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. The amazing return from surgery and historic season has Peterson as perhaps the leading candidate to win the MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year awards, which will be announced on Feb. 2.