By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

Adrian Peterson’s last few years can barely be explained in a single sentence.

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He tore his ACL in late 2011, then went full bionic mode in his recovery and was ready to play for the 2012 season, setting a new bar for injury recovery in the NFL. He led the league in rushing that year, completing a remarkable comeback from an injury that sometimes ends football players’ entire careers, or at least changes them extensively.

Then last season, photos surfaced of Peterson’s son with deep gashes in his legs, a result of Peterson beating him with a switch. Peterson played in one game in 2014, then sat the rest of the season thanks to suspension from the league office, which was in a tailspin from its mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

Got all that?

Now, Peterson is attempting to rebound from a missed season once again. And he’ll try to use the Lions as just another rung in his ladder back to the top of NFL running backs.

“He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. I believe the 49ers had a great game plan against him and was able to contain him,” said Joique Bell, after Peterson only had 10 carries in the Vikings’ loss to San Francisco Monday. “But you can only contain Adrian Peterson so long before he gets the rust off.”

It’s not just that Peterson is fast, and he is that. He’s blazed his way to 10,221 yards off 2,064 carries, all with Minnesota.

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At 6’1 and 220 pounds, with a low center of gravity when he runs, he’s also a load to bring down.

“They’re rare. Obviously, real rare,” said head coach Jim Caldwell of what makes Peterson special. “The size, power, speed, all of the things he possesses. That’s why he’s been able to do what he’s done through the years. He’s certainly a great back.”

“He changes the dynamic,” said Lions safety Glover Quin. “He’s going to make you tackle him every play and he’ll go 100 yards every time if you don’t tackle him. He’s running to score every single time.”

For a Lions team that struggled with tackling last week against San Diego, fundamentals will have to be fixed quickly if they hope to contain Peterson, who will surely see more than 10 carries against a divisional opponent.

Add together Peterson’s strength and elusiveness, and sometimes, you just get a whiff of air in your arms as a tackler.

“You need to have two guys coming from the side and one guy coming from the front,” said Detroit defensive end Darryl Tapp. “You need to have secondary support holding him up. He requires so much attention because he’s that type of player. It’s not a one-man job even if that one person has him. … That’s the only way you get him down.”

 

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