Dr. Andrews on Adrian Peterson's recovery: 'He has defied the odds'

Just in case you needed more proof that Adrian Peterson is not of this world and that the Purple Jesus nickname holds more truth than anybody ever thought, consider this: A year after shredding his knee in a meaningless late-season game against Redskins in 2011, Peterson has defied the the laws of nature, put the Vikings on his back and dragged them into the playoffs.

His regular-season totals -- 2,097 rushing yards, 6.0 yards per carry, 12 TDs -- are astounding on their own but more so given that he did it on a surgically repaired knee that typically takes two years to heal before a player returns to his preinjury form. But again, Peterson isn't human.

"He has defied all odds," orthopedic surgeon James Andrews told the Pioneer Press recently. "If you operate on the right athlete, it makes you look pretty darn good as a physician. Adrian was that genetic athlete who could do what he's done. There are a few I've treated. One of them was Bo Jackson. Bo was a natural athlete. He didn't have to lift weights growing up. Adrian Peterson is like that."

The scary part: Peterson could somehow be better in 2013.

"I say an athlete after [an] ACL [tear] is much better the second year back than the first year back," Andrews said. "First year back is a wash. It hasn't been a wash for him, obviously. After 24 months, [an athlete is] a lot more mature and confident. Who knows? Adrian may be better next year than this year."

This sorta squashes the idea that running backs are a dime a dozen and aren't worth big-money contracts. Then again, Peterson is the once-in-a-generation exception.

"Running backs don't come back within the first year like that in the NFL," Andrews continued. "They may come back and play a little bit. They don't do what he did. Nobody's ever done that if you look at the statistics of players returning to the NFL. We did a study. Running backs are the hardest to get back, period.

"The average NFL player ... only about a little over 50 percent are still playing after two years. We say we have 90 to 90-plus percent success with [knee] surgeries [in non-NFL cases]. But we're talking about playing in the NFL. It's not 90 percent, believe me."

Not surprisingly, Peterson made the CBSSports.com All-Pro Team, and he has a legit case for NFL MVP. But a week after running all over the Packers to help the Vikings secure a playoff spot, none of the eight CBSSports.com experts think Minnesota can beat Green Bay twice in seven days. We're guessing Purple Jesus will have something to say about that, too.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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