Adrian Peterson has set standards that other players will be hard-pressed to match.
No running back in the NFL can run like Peterson, and he healed faster from a major knee injury faster than anyone else, too.
It's what Peterson does on the playing field, not in the recovery room and rehab program, that concerns the Lions in Sunday's opening game against the Vikings at Ford Field.
Peterson shredded defenses for 2,097 rushing yards last season, the second-highest total in NFL history and only eight yards short of the single-season record of 2,105, set by Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson in 1984.
As a medical patient, Peterson was just as amazing – and perhaps more so – for his rapid recovery from a severe knee injury. He went down in Game 16 last year, a Christmas Eve contest against the Washington Redskins. Immediately there were projections that he would never recover fully, and that he wouldn't be ready for the start of the 2012 season.
Peterson hit the ground running on opening day, rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Jacksonville. Peterson never stopped running and gaining yards as he carried the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs. He was voted the league's Most Valuable Player.
Peterson has raised his own expectations for this season, setting 2,500 yards rushing as a possible goal. Vikings Coach Leslie Frazier doesn't doubt that Peterson can do it.
"In Adrian's case, I've learned, and I think all of us who have followed him -- you don't ever put anything out of his reach," Frazier said in a conference call interview with the Detroit media.
That includes 2,500 yards.
"When it comes to Adrian Peterson, it's realistic," Frazier said. "I don't think in Adrian's case that's the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to bring a world championship here to Minnesota.
"It would be a nice individual honor I guess, but that's not what drives him or motivates him to play the game."
The Lions have seen Peterson at his best many times since he entered the NFL in 2007 as the Vikings' first-round draft pick. Peterson has gone over the 100-yard mark seven times in 11 games against the Lions. His high game was 171 yards in a Vikings home game last year. He's had runs of 80, 61 and 43 yards twice.
When asked to single out Peterson's strength, Lions defensive tackle
"His greatest strength is everything he has," Suh said. "He really has no weakness. He has speed, power, vision. His advantages are everything.
"Not allowing him to start is the best way to stop him."
Re-armed: The Vikings have juggled the quarterback depth chart and strengthened two positions in the process.
Matt Cassel, a starter most of the last four seasons in Kansas City and Tom Brady's backup in New England before that, was signed as a free agent to be the backup to starter Christian Ponder.
Joe Webb, a backup the previous three seasons, was moved to wide receiver to take advantage of his physical ability. Webb won't be a starting receiver for the Vikings, but he made progress in the preseason, leading the Vikings with 10 catches for 65 yards.
"We think he's going to do a very good job at the receiver position as he continues to grow," Frazier said. "I think we helped ourselves in both of those areas."
Roster roulette: The Vikings went to extremes to add two new starters on offense. Greg Jennings, a former Pro Bowl receiver for the Packers, was signed as a free agent to fill a void left when Percy Harvin was traded to Seattle.
Zach Line, an undrafted rookie from SMU and Oxford High School, is the starting fullback while Jerome Felton serves a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on substance abuse. The suspension reportedly stems from an arrest in 2012 for drunken driving.
Williams Wall: Pat and Kevin Williams formed one of the NFL's best tackle tandems as teammates on the Vikings from 2005 through 2010. Pat Williams, who made the Pro Bowl three straight years (2006-08) retired after the 2010 season, leaving Kevin Williams as the surviving block in the wall.
Kevin Williams made the Pro Bowl six times from 2004-10 and was first team All-Pro five of those seasons. His status for Sunday bears watching because of a knee injury sustained on a low block in the third preseason game against the 49ers.
The Vikings did not think it was a clean block, claiming Williams was in a defenseless position.
"That was a tough one to watch," Frazier said. "He was definitely a defenseless player from my point of view when I watched the tape. It's unfortunate that that hit occurred."