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Adrian Peterson wants to return by Vikings' opener

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has wowed teammates with his recovery from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, beating fully healthy wide receivers in hill sprints. Peterson is less than six months removed from an injury that some estimate takes a full year to recover from, but he's determined to be ready for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune reports.

"With the experts, I'm sure 90 or 95 percent of the time, they're right with their estimates," Peterson said. "But there are some guys you can't put the traditional timetable on. Some guys are different. I just happen to feel I'm one of those guys."

While Peterson is ahead of schedule in his recovery, running at full speed and regaining full range of motion in the knee, he's yet in the clear. Russ Paine, a Houston-based physical therapist who has been working with Peterson, says the running back has "different protoplasm than the rest of the world," but there are still physical and mental hurdles he will need to clear. He'll need to rebuild strength in the muscles that support the knee and regain trust and full control of the joint, which might not happen in time for Peterson to play 98 days from now.

"I don't know how to answer that question," Peterson said about possibly not being ready for the season opener. "And I struggle to even entertain it. Because that's not the way my mind is tuned in. I can't let that negativity seep in. My mindset is that I will be there. I want to be playing. Forget what everyone else says. ... The goal is the goal. And I'm going to accomplish it."

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