Six weeks ago, Adrian Peterson was trotting through practice drills with a "Do Not Touch" sign attached to his surgically repaired left knee.
After the Minnesota Vikings running back tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in December, Peterson's rehab was a testament to his commitment, but draped with questions. The truth is that most backs don't regain their original speed after reconstructive knee surgery, but Peterson isn't "most backs."
"I feel (the knee) is better than it was last year," Peterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "With that being said, I know that I've got a little ways to go to get to where I want to be."
Peterson's yards per carry have dropped from 4.7 last season to 4.2 through four games this season, but his 332 yards surpass what was expected for this early in the year. The Vikings have been one of the NFL's surprise teams, but Peterson's return outshines what the team has accomplished. He's cemented himself as football's toughest runner on and off the field.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.