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Updated: February 7th, 2013 4:00pm
Despite pain, Adrian Peterson continued to play with sports hernia

Despite pain, Adrian Peterson continued to play with sports hernia

by Judd Zulgad
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Adrian Peterson not only came within 9 yards of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record in 2012 after having reconstructive knee surgery, but he also nearly made NFL history while playing with a sports hernia.

Peterson, who underwent a surgical procedure on Thursday to repair an abdominal core muscle injury, or sports hernia, told ESPN's Josina Anderson that he initially was hurt in Week 10 against the Detroit Lions.

That means that Peterson ran for 1,068 yards in seven games while playing in pain that he said reached a "10 on a scale of 10" during the Vikings' upset victory at Houston in Week 16. 

Peterson, who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee on Dec. 24, 2011 at Washington, rushed for more than 100 yards in five of the six regular-season games after he suffered the sports hernia and had two games with more than 200 yards. He was held to under 100 yards against Houston but still managed to gain 86 yards on 25 carries.

Peterson, who was named the NFL's MVP last weekend, was fortunate in that the Vikings had their bye after the Nov. 11 game against the Lions.

"After the bye week I didn't truly practice, not a week after that until the end of the season," Peterson told ESPN. "The only time I did do anything was pretty much on Fridays when I would just do a couple carries or so. Everybody knows that is our short day. I was getting rehab during this process. I knew I wasn't really practicing at all. I wasn't able to lift because of the strain that it would put on those muscles on an upper or lower body workout. That was too much.

"It was mind over matter. It was just about doing what I had to do to push myself every week. My body was sore from the game and the sports hernia every Monday, so I did what I had to do to recover and get my body right. I just played through the pain. I ran on adrenaline."

Peterson's surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. The Vikings said in a statement that they expect Peterson to make a "speedy recovery with no long-term concerns."

Peterson told ESPN the recovery will be about three to four weeks and that after that he should be able to workout again.

Peterson finished the season with 2,097 yards, giving him the second best rushing season in NFL history. So how did the injury affect his chase of Eric Dickerson's mark set in 1984?

"It definitely impacted my play," Peterson told ESPN. "I wasn't 100 percent, but I wanted to win a championship. I wasn't going to stop or quit. I made a decision to keep going. I don't want to make it seem like the sports hernia made me miss it. I could have done it with the injury. All I can say is that I would have had better performances."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 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
In this story: Adrian Peterson