Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 5/29/13

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Last summer, the lasting image of Adrian Peterson was him running the side hills at the Minnesota Vikings' facilities, intensely rehabbing his surgically repaired knee while the rest of his teammates participated in voluntary workouts. Minnesota is back with organized team activities this week, another voluntary set of workouts. But the Vikings MVP running back isn't resting on his 2,097-yard rushing season. Peterson is with his team, and he's not here because he's still trying to recover from another surgery. "I'm pretty much 100 percent," Peterson said of coming back from February sports hernia surgery. "You know, me knowing my body, I'd like to be a little stronger in some areas. But I'm feeling great." And coming back from surgery, Peterson was taking the first-team reps during practice Wednesday at the team's Winter Park facilities as if nothing had ever happened. The spotlight has shined on Peterson since he was named the league's MVP following last year's campaign in which he fell eight yards shy of the single-season NFL rushing mark. Peterson has gained endorsements and was runner-up to former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders in the annual Madden videogame cover vote. "Yeah, a little more spotlight," Peterson said. "Last year, I pretty much didn't have no endorsement deals come through. This year, it was a little different. Last year, some of those were my choice. . . . But this year the offseason has been a little busy." But even during a busier offseason, Peterson rehabbed his way back from surgery and said it was important for team chemistry that he was at this week's voluntary OTAs. And with that 2,500 goal in his mind, he's trying to work as hard as he did last season when he came back from major knee surgery. "For me last year was a true test for me, and it made me realize that I can be working even harder than I was previously, Peterson said. "So yeah, I've been working extremely hard with that goal of coming back and being better than I was last year. That's always my mindset. Finding ways to improve and coming back better than I was the year before." Peterson's presence during voluntary workouts wasn't lost on Vikings' coach Leslie Frazier. "The fact that he's here really kind of helps the rest of our players to understand the importance of this portion of the offseason," Frazier said, stressing the fact Peterson was the league MVP last season. "We're grateful that he's here. Everyone knows what he means to our team, what he means to our organization. His attitude and the way he approaches things is what you want to see if you're a young player coming in and trying to figure out this league. To be around Adrian, it's good for our team. It's good for everybody involved." And Peterson isn't just present. He's participating in a way he couldn't last year. "(Recovering from sports hernia surgery) was a cakewalk compared to recovering from the ACL and what I had to go through to bounce back from that," Peterson said, later adding: "But I definitely earned a lot more respect for your abdominal muscles, because they work so much of your body. And after that surgery, I was definitely able to feel each area that it affects. So yeah, I definitely got an appreciation for it." Peterson played the end of the season, during his epic run of 10 100-yard rushing days in the final 11 weeks, with an abdominal injury. Peterson is nearly back to full strength and says he is lifting more now than before the injury. "It was a little wear and tear towards the end of the season," Peterson said. "And as each game came along, I could kind of feel it getting a little worse. But mind over matter. You know? So I just continued to push and dealt with it." And Peterson is trying to lead by example; pushing through injuries, surgeries and rehab to lead Minnesota to the playoffs and his presence at OTAs he hopes is an example for the rest of the team. "Everyone needs to come out and really understand what we're trying to accomplish as a group," Peterson said. "And as an individual, you have to make sure you're preparing yourself through the offseason, the OTAs, to make sure you prepped to come in and play your part in ultimately accomplishing that goal. If everyone has that focus, that's how you get better." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Who should perform at Super Bowl 51?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker