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Updated: October 21st, 2012 6:22pm
Despite big day, Adrian Peterson says 'there's still a little missing'

Despite big day, Adrian Peterson says 'there's still a little missing'

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson had just rushed for a season-high 153 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown in the Minnesota Vikings' 21-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at the Metrodome.

He had just tied a franchise mark for the most 100-yard games rushing in a career, equaling Robert Smith's total of 29. He had just set a team record for most career rushing yards in October with 2,207.

But despite the production and accomplishments, Peterson wasn't sold that he is all the way back from the reconstructive surgery on his left knee that took place last December.

"There's still a little missing," he said. "You guys probably think I'm crazy but it is. I feel good, I'm not going to complain. I'm just going to keep working and just keep getting better each week."

Still, Peterson did admit he feels "light years" ahead of where he was when he surprised many by returning to action in Week 1 and rushing for 84 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns against Jacksonville.

"It feels so much better than it did that first week," said Peterson, who had the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee repaired after tearing them last Dec. 24 at Washington. "It's stronger and more explosive. I said before I was at 100 percent, which I am, but it's just so much more that I know is going to come. So each week, I feel myself getting better and just try to stay on path."

Peterson's rushing yardage Sunday was his most since he went for 175 yards on 24 carries last Oct. 23 against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome. His success against a tough Cardinals defense that often moved eight or nine guys into the box in order to focus on the run was somewhat surprising given that Peterson has been battling a sprained left ankle that he suffered in Week 5.

Peterson did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday of last week but did return on Friday.

"I feel like practice, working it and rehabbing it, has really helped me out," said Peterson, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in two games this season. "But it feels good. It's still a little tender. I'll know more (Monday) once I wake up. It's mind over matter. I knew I was going to be able to play, especially Friday."

On a day in which the Vikings offense did little, Peterson had a quick impact. He opened the Vikings' second offensive series with a 27-yard run that put the ball at the Minnesota 39-yard line and he finished that series with a 13-yard touchdown run.

"It's so inspirational for our entire team to see Adrian battle back from major reconstructive knee surgery and to run the way he did today," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "I remember talking with him on Thursday or Friday, I asked him how he was feeling and talked through some things.

"I said, 'You know we really want to (use) you this week. We see some things in the run game.' He said, 'Coach, I'll be ready. You don't have to worry about me.' ... He's a pro and a great example for our entire team."

As far as the Vikings' milestones Peterson continues to surpass, he did acknowledge he does stop at times to appreciate the history of the game.

"I have to chuckle to myself just thinking about it," Peterson said. "Just how long the game has been around. Not too many guys make it to the NFL and play. To be at the top of my game and all the different guys who prepare me. It makes me sit back and be more humble and appreciate it more. There are so many other people that could be in this position right now, so why me? It's just a blessing and that's the way I look at it." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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