Adrian Peterson: ‘I think I’m back’ to old self

On Sunday, Adrian Peterson reminded us that he is still, in fact, Adrian Peterson.

In his 100th career start, the Vikings’ All-World running back turned in a(nother) dominant performance — 20 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns — as Minnesota cruised to a convincing home win over the Chargers.

Peterson, whose 2014 campaign was ruined by a child abuse scandal, found the end zone for the first time since Nov. 24, 2013 — nearly two calendar years. Perhaps reaching paydirt again led him to believe he’s returned to old form. Or maybe it’s because his 30-year-old body held up on an afternoon where he, as per usual, put the entire offense on his shoulders.

Either way, he says, A.D. is “back.”

“My legs felt lighter today and just the preparation throughout the week helped with that, but I felt good,” Peterson said, via the Vikings’ official website. “The body felt good. My mind was in a great place, and yeah, I think I’m back.”

In terms of conditioning, Peterson is a bonafide legend. Remember, this is the guy who dazzled doctors in 2012, less than a year after suffering a career-threatening knee injury. Whereas some players would have hung up their cleats, Peterson ran for 2,097 yards that season, falling nine agonizing yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record.

So, it’s really no surprise that Peterson owes his recent turnaround to his conditioning.

“The biggest thing is, I would make sure I’m just in position to make sure my lungs are open,” Peterson said. “Last week, I felt like my conditioning wasn’t where I need it to be and I’m not saying I wasn’t in shape. I’m probably in better shape than 80 percent of the guys that were out there, but I wasn’t able to really run the ball and recover like I was used to.”

A healthy and rejuvenated Peterson means trouble for the rest of the NFL. The Vikings aren’t a contender — and they don’t even boast a good offense — but victory is always within reach when No. 28 is on the field.

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).