Minnesota Vikings running back and reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson says he considers it an “accomplishment” and “honor” to be suspected of using performance enhancing drugs.
Speaking with NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning, Peterson said that he’s not offended by allegations of PED use that have come his way since his unexpectedly quick comeback from a devastating knee injury ahead of a 2012 season that saw him eclipse 2,000 rushing yards en route to claiming the MVP award. Quite the opposite, he considers such allegations a compliment.
“Yeah, I think it’s fair,” Peterson said of people suspecting him of PED use. “The world we live in, I know there’s going to be people that’s on my side, and people that’s against me.
“For my name to come up, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Especially the way I bounced back from the injury, I knew there would be speculation. But I really don’t buy into it. It doesn’t bother me at all. It actually makes me realize how blessed that I am to be able to come back and have the type of season that I had, and for people to think that I used some type of PED, to me, it’s an accomplishment, it’s an honor, for people to say, ‘Well, you know, he had to be on something.’
“Knowing personally how hard I dedicated myself to be able to come back and be ready for the regular season and be ready to help my team win a championship, and going out there and sweating and putting in that hard work, when people make those accusations, it gives me confidence. It puts a smile on my face every time I hear it, to be honest.”
Peterson credits his good genetics – a body that’s always healed “faster than normal” – and hard work for his ability to return quickly from an injury many expected to sideline him deep into the 2012 season, and then to perform at an elite level despite coming off rehab. But he thinks it’s not necessarily fair to compare his quick rehab with that of others facing similar injuries.
"The majority of it comes from the hard work you put into it," Peterson said. "That’s something that I know if guys put their mind to it, they can accomplish that part. And like I said there’s just that part about just your body healing, that if your body doesn’t heal as fast, then that can slow you down, that can kind of make it seem like you didn’t put a lot of work in when you did.”
Peterson flatly states his goals for the 2013 season as “a championship and 2,500 yards.” If he were to reach his lofty goal, he would shatter Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, set in 1984.
Longer term, Peterson has his eyes set on Emmitt Smith’s all-time NFL rushing record of 18,355 yards, compiled over the course of his 15-year career. Peterson currently has 8,849 yards through the first six seasons of his career.
“I feel like if I continue to stay healthy and just be blessed to play this game for a long time, then that record is something I can break, and I will break,” Peterson said. “So that’s how I feel about that record.
“(Smith) definitely has a lot of yards. I try not to focus on those records as something that I see in my mind and it’s there, so it’s not like I’m focused on it as much as me just going out there and playing. Then five, six, seven years from now, I can look back and I’m getting ready to break the record, or I’ve broken the record already.”