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NFL Injury Comebacks: Adrian Peterson

Whether you’re a casual observer or a die-hard fan, it’s easy to see that the National Football League (NFL) is jam-packed with some of the most striking American football players in the world. 


You can take a look at current NFL odds to see the top competing teams in the league.


These players are often characterized by their dominance on the football field, skill, strength, speed, and likability – something that legendary running back Adrian Peterson has in spades.   


Unfortunately, such a competitive game has a significantly increased risk of player injury, which Peterson is no stranger to.


If you’d like to learn how he made a comeback from his injuries, this article reveals all.


Who Is Adrian Peterson?

Before we discuss the injuries that this player has sustained, it’s important to get some idea of who he is and his playing style on the field.


It’s no secret that this talented player is widely considered the greatest running back to grace the sport. He has an impressive combination of height, strength, speed, agility, vision, and size, in addition to a highly aggressive running style, that makes him a real NFL stand-out.


College Career

Adrian Peterson played American football at The University of Oklahoma, where he was able to set the rushing record for a freshman (1,925 yards) during the 2004 playing season. He was named an All-American that same year.


He broke his collarbone during his junior year and has to miss out on the regular season for his recovery period. However, he made a comeback during their final game in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.


Peterson would go on to finish his college football career as the third all-time leading rusher in Oklahoma Sooners’ history – with a total of 4,045 rushing yards in just three seasons.


He would choose to forego his senior season in favor of the NFL Draft. 


Professional Career

Peterson suffered from a dislocated shoulder during his first year, a high ankle sprain during his sophomore season, and a broken collarbone in his final year playing for Oklahoma.


His overall durability was a major consideration for multiple teams in the 2007 NFL Draft.


Fortunately, Peterson was selected as the seventh overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings during this draft. 


From the offset, Peterson demonstrated immense skill from the offset with the Vikings, going on to accomplish many incredible records during a historic run with the team – and despite sustaining career-altering injuries. He’d leave in February 2017 to become a free agent.


He then went on to sign a two-year contract with the New Orleans Saints in April 2017. He had an average performance and was then traded to the Arizona Cardinals mid-contract later that same year.


Peterson signed a veteran one-year, minimum contract with the Washington Redskins in August 2018, which would be renewed in March 2019.


Peterson would also go on to have contracts with the Detroit Lions (2020), the Tennessee Titans (2021), and the Seattle Seahawks (2021) before becoming a free agent in January 2022.


ACL Injury (2011-2012)

Peterson suffered a very serious injury on Christmas Eve 2011, managing to tear both the MCL and ACL in his left knee after experiencing a horrible tackle.


The ACL can only resist a specific amount of abnormal movement. So, if any outside hits force the knee to twist inward or move forward strongly enough, the ACL will give way and tear. Unfortunately, this is the type of force that Peterson experienced.


What Happened?

As can be clearly seen in any video of the incident, Peterson plants his leg on the ground just before a tackle from Washington Redskins (now Commanders) safety DeJon Gomes forces his knee slightly forward and primarily inward.


Because Peterson had his leg securely on the ground as the tackle occurred, his leg could not give in to the hit. As a result, his ACL and knee absorbed the entire force of the tackle. This resulted in an ACL tear.


Other Injuries

During his time in college and his professional NFL career, Peterson has also hurt his foot many times, suffered three high-ankle sprains, injured his thigh, and experienced a torn LCL.


Most recently, in late 2020, he had knee surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. 


Overall, his injuries have resulted in him having to skip 20 games in his career. Although, considering the severity of the injuries Peterson has sustained, and his expected recovery time, this is nothing!


ACL Recovery 

An ACL injury is one of the most devastating injuries that an athlete can sustain, and can take many months or years to recover.


After having ACL reconstruction surgery and months of rehab and intense physical therapy, Peterson made an incredible recovery to begin the season with the Vikings. In short, he defied medical textbooks and clinical reasoning with his swift comeback.


What’s Next?

Currently completely healthy, Peterson is a free agent in the league and isn’t actively playing. He is, however, hoping to join the roster of one of the 32 teams and continue in the league next season. We have no doubts that he will continue to succeed.


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