Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 10/11/12

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. -- Adrian Peterson will walk back into FedEx Field in Washington on Sunday, less than 10 months after the major knee surgery that at one time led many to question whether the Minnesota Vikings' star running back would ever be the same. It was Dec. 24 last year when Peterson's left foot stuck in the turf and Redskins safety DeJon Gomes lowered his head and put his helmet directly into the side of Peterson's left knee. Peterson, the highest-paid running back in the league and a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first four seasons, collapsed to the ground face-first in a moment that had the Vikings holding their collective breath. Peterson was helped off the field, then carted off the sideline. An MRI revealed the biggest fear; he had torn the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee and had some meniscus damage. Ahead was a grueling process that even the most optimistic of timelines wouldn't have forecast Peterson being close to his usual form as Minnesota (4-1) heads back to Washington (2-3) on Sunday. Returning to the scene of the injury isn't lost on Peterson. "A little bit, of course it pops in your mind," Peterson said Thursday. "But outside of that, I'm just focusing on executing the offense as a whole and in all three phases and coming out with a win." That Peterson is back to worrying about wins is telling. In his mind, he's over any issues with his knee. Those doubts were erased early on as he pushed through an intensive rehab to return to the practice field in training camp. Though he didn't play in the preseason, he was ready, as promised, for the first regular-season game this year. He debuted in the opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and added to his amazing return by rushing for 84 yards on 17 carries and scoring two touchdowns in a Vikings win. Through five weeks, all starts by Peterson, he ranks eighth in the league with 420 yards rushing. His 96 carries are surpassed by only six players. Still, even some of his coaches didn't think Peterson would be back in time for this week's game at Washington. "No, definitely not, just amazing," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. "It's amazing the progress he's made and how hard he's worked." Peterson joked that he welcomes the chance to run over Gomes, a backup safety for Washington, but he doesn't harbor any personal grudges. Any revenge factor is minute. "Maybe a little bit," Peterson said. "But nothing that's just overwhelming and really that personal." Peterson said he's seen the video of the play a couple of times by happenstance but hasn't tried to watch reruns specifically. "I don't like seeing it," he said. Peterson doesn't need to. He can replay the situation in his mind, laying on the turf knowing he was dealing with a bad knee injury. Peterson was "99.9" percent sure the ACL was involved. "I felt three pops and just the way may leg bent, I knew it was messed up pretty bad," Peterson said. The coach on the other sideline that day, Washington's Mike Shanahan, also knew what was ahead for Peterson. Shanahan was the Denver Broncos coach when running back Terrell Davis helped his team to a pair of Super Bowl wins and appeared on his way to a Hall of Fame career. But in 1999, Davis tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee while trying to make a tackle following an interception. Davis ended up returning but was never the same. He was plagued by more leg and knee problems, undergoing more surgeries before retiring in 2000 having played just five more games following the initial knee injury. "With Terrell, he never felt comfortable," Shanahan said. "I think everybody was just hoping that Adrian would come back. Watching him on film, you can tell he's worked extremely hard to put himself in the position he's in. At least from the outside, I don't know him personally, but you can see what a great kid he is and I think everyone was pulling for him. Our players were sick when it happened." The week before playing the Redskins, Peterson has been more concerned with the health of his left ankle than his left knee. He twisted the ankle on the second play of last week's 30-7 win against the Tennessee Titans. Peterson was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he doesn't believe the injury will hinder him Sunday against Washington. In last week's win, Peterson had 35 yards in the first half and said he was "out of whack" after the ankle injury and was thinking about the pain too much. After halftime, he refocused and ran for 53 yards, including a season-high 34 on his first carry. Like past Mondays, when Peterson has dealt with the normal soreness in his surgically repaired knee that subsides after a few days, he was sore Monday, but mainly due to the ankle. He's said he's taken the necessary precautions to play Sunday and is communicating with the team's athletic trainers to let them know how he is feeling. "I'm sure they trust me," Peterson said. "I tried to come back seven months after an ACL for training camp practice, so they know I'm going to give them all I've got." Which is why he will be back, in uniform, again Sunday at Washington. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

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

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

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