Adrian Peterson's 2012 season will forever be one of the greatest single-season performances by a running back in NFL history. Not only did he come within nine yards of breaking Eric Dickerson's record for rushing yards in a season, but he did so while overcoming multiple injuries that would've sidelined the vast majority of players.
Everyone knows that Peterson recovered from a December 2011 ACL tear in just eight months, somehow starting Week 1 of the 2012 season. But what some people may not remember is that down the stretch of that season, when he was at his absolute peak of production, Peterson was dealing with an incredibly painful sports hernia injury.
Geoff Schwartz, an offensive lineman on that 2012 Vikings team and a current popular media figure, shared his recollection of Peterson's greatness on Monday.
"What I found incredible about AP this season was him playing through the sports hernia," Schwartz tweeted. "He couldn't practice. We spent 10 minutes every Friday with him walking through each run vs the looks. That was it. Then he'd come out on Sunday and shred the defense."
Peterson's hernia injury was reported at the time, but it isn't common knowledge like the ACL tear, and the detail Schwartz adds here is definitely new information for the public. It's incredible to think about Peterson needing just ten minutes of preparation each week before going out and dominating.
According to an ESPN story from February 2013 – when Peterson had surgery for the hernia – he first suffered the injury in Week 10 against the Lions. He ran for 171 yards in that game.
After the bye week, Peterson ran for 108, 210, 154, 212, 86, and 199 yards over the final six games, despite an injury that grew increasingly bothersome.
Peterson said the injury worsened each week and limited his participation in practice for the remainder of the season. "I just played through the pain. I ran on adrenaline."
He didn't receive treatment until getting a cortisone shot Week 13 against the Packers, a game in which he ran for 210 yards. Peterson said the injury was at its worst in Week 16 against the Texans, when he was held to 86 yards, snapping an eight-game streak of 100-yard performances.
If he never suffers that sports hernia, Peterson would have probably broken Dickerson's record.
Over seven years later, the 35-year-old Peterson is still in the NFL and is preparing for his third season with the Washington Redskins. There will never be another player quite like him.
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