Found June 27, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Nfc_championship_minnesota_ab4d
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. There is no doubting the kind of respect Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson garners around the league.An injury-shortened 2011 season didn't keep the four-time All-Pro Peterson from being named the eighth-best player in the league in a vote by NFL players released during the network's annual Top 100 players special on Wednesday. Peterson is the second Viking on the list after Jared Allen was ranked No. 13 last week. With 15 running backs on the list, Peterson was the highest-ranked back among the most-represented offensive position, even after a season in which he fell shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his five-year career because he was limited to 12 games. Peterson, who was ranked No. 3 in the poll last year, missed three games because of a high ankle sprain midway through the season and had his season end in Week 16 because of torn knee ligaments. With his intense work ethic, Peterson is on pace to return for the 2012 season opener on Sept. 9 after knee surgery in December. Showing why he's so respected around the league, Peterson was active during Minnesota's offseason program, even running the steep incline at the Vikings' practice facility during team practices.Less than seven months after surgery, he feels he's not far away from being ready and hopes to participate in some of training camp, which begins July 27."Main thing for me right now is really getting the strength back in this left leg, getting the quad back strong, getting the hamstring and the calf, building those muscles, trying to get it equal or stronger than the right leg," Peterson said last week at the team's minicamp. "But, flexibility is good. I'm able to open up, able to cut well. But there is always room for improvement, and that's what I'm doing every day."Despite missing four full games and parts of two others, Peterson still finished with 970 yards rushing last year and 13 total touchdowns. He has rushed for more yards and t nouchdowns than anyone since coming into the league in 2007 as the seventh-overall pick by the Vikings out of Oklahoma. He owns the single-game rushing mark with a 296-yard performance against the San Diego Chargers in his rookie seasons, and last year he became just the 10th player in NFL history to rush for three touchdowns in one quarter.After just five seasons, Peterson owns the franchise record for rushing touchdowns with 62 scores and is just 164 yards away from Robert Smith's team-record of 6,818 yards rushing. He is the sixth-fastest player to reach 6,000 yards rushing in NFL history, accomplishing the feat in just 63 games.Big accomplishments and goals are nothing new for Peterson and being back for the season-opener is his latest goal. He's pushed his recovery as much as the trainers and staff will let him. It's not his style to take things easy, even his rehab."That's not my makeup," Peterson said. "I'm always trying to get ahead. There was a point in time, around the three-month period, when I had to just be slow and be patient. Just deal with it and not do too much to damage the graft. Now, I'm wide open, so I'm taking advantage of that. I'm doing as much as I can. I'll be talking to the coaches and whispering in their ears, and trying to get out there as much as possible. But we'll see."Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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