West, beware: Adrian Peterson on the mend

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
9:15
AM ET
Adrian Peterson's fierce determination to return from ACL surgery for the 2012 season is inspiring -- to a point.

NFC West teams probably wouldn't mind if the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro running back took his time. They have a stake in his readiness.

Peterson's Vikings face the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams at various points this season.

The 49ers, owners of the toughest run defense in the division, are scheduled to face Peterson only nine months after the injury, in Week 3. The Rams, who have spent the offseason addressing a defense that allowed at least 236 yards rushing to three opponents, would not face Peterson until Week 15, when Peterson will have had nearly a year to recover.

Peterson made the most of his one appearance against an NFC West team last season. He carried 29 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns against Arizona in Week 5. The Cardinals' defense improved considerably later in the season before allowing a season-high 178 yards rushing to Seattle in Week 17.

The video above shows Peterson's intense rehab regimen. Watching him work out, it's hard to imagine he underwent such serious surgery such a short time ago.

Earlier: ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell on Peterson's rehab.

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