From Comcast SportsNetEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Adrian Peterson put up one of the best seasons by a running back in NFL history to run away with the MVP award.Now imagine what he could do if he was actually fully healthy.Peterson had surgery on Thursday to repair a sports hernia in his abdomen, an injury that bothered him for much of the last month of the season while he came up just 8 yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record.It was an incredible season nonetheless considering he had surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee the previous December.In the final few weeks of the season, Peterson acknowledged playing through an abdominal injury, but never let on just how much it was bothering him.On Thursday, the Vikings disclosed he had undergone surgery in Philadelphia to repair the hernia."We expect a speedy recovery with no long-term concerns," the team said in a statement on its website.Considering Peterson recovered from a significant knee injury faster than anyone can ever remember a running back doing so, bouncing back from his latest procedure shouldn't slow him down too much.Peterson tore his ACL against the Redskins in December 2011, then set to work on a rehab program that surprised almost everyone in getting him back on the field for the season opener in 2012.He was somewhat limited in his first few weeks of the season, still working to get the scar tissue to break up and restore the flexion and cutting ability in his knee.But once he broke loose, he was nearly unstoppable. Peterson topped 200 yards twice in the final five weeks of the season and hit 199 in the season-ending victory over the Green Bay Packers that carried the Vikings into the playoffs.His recovery, coupled with the playoff berth and 2,097 yards rushing, helped Peterson easily win the MVP award over Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He was also selected the league's offensive player of the year in a season in which he scored 12 touchdowns, had eight runs of 40 yards or more and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.Playing through the injury, which is a tear in the abdominal muscles that can cause severe pain in the pelvic and groin area and hinder a player's ability to run and cut, only adds to Peterson's breathtaking season.While many other players have found it too difficult to play with a sports hernia, Peterson only appeared to be slowed by the injury in one game, when he sat out much of the fourth quarter of a decisive victory over Houston in Week 16.Toby Gerhart finished up the game, and Peterson said later that his abdomen was too sore to continue playing. He rebounded with the monster game against Green Bay the following week and even played in the Pro Bowl with the injury.Peterson isn't expected to be out much more than a month, giving him ample time to get back into his workouts and get ready for next season.One of his best blockers is looking at a longer recovery time. Vikings center John Sullivan had microfracture surgery on his left knee, a procedure that requires a three- to four-month rehabilitation program. Sullivan, who made a push for a Pro Bowl spot in his fifth season, is expected to be ready for training camp in August. The surgery was first reported by 1500espn.com.
0:41 - Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles recap their thoughts on drafting Jayson Tatum and trade rumors involving the Celtics.
6:21 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to discuss if it would be worth trading for Paul George as a one-year rental and if there would be a chance he could still around long-term if traded to Boston.
11:13 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Rick Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox offense coming to life, and Doug Fister being claimed by the Red Sox.
15:10 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely look back at the Celtics/Nets trade, what the assets have turned into, and if Danny Ainge has done a good job turning those assets into players.
CHICAGO – As opening nights go at the NHL Draft, Friday night was a bit of a ho-hum affair for the Boston Bruins at the United Center home of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Bruins went the safe route by drafting a smooth, defensive-minded defenseman with the 18th overall pick when they selected Finnish product Urho Vaakenainen, and in doing so left more dynamic forwards like Kristian Vesalainen and Kailer Yamamoto still on the draft board for other teams to claim as their own. It was a bit of a curious choice given how many defensemen the Bruins already have in the prospect pipeline, but the lack of strength in the draft class seemed to lead teams to carve their own paths looking for players.
The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder clearly has miles to go offensively despite his smooth skating and solid passing skills, but there’s also a consideration that the teenager has been playing in the men’s league in Finland for the last couple of seasons. It makes things a little more difficult to project for the Finn D-man, but the Bruins believe there is some upside to his offensive game given the skills, the hockey IQ and the considerable confidence that the player has in his own game.
“His gap control and skating ability are really good. He’s obviously played in the Finnish Elite League at a very young age for one and a half years now and he’s played on the big stage at the world juniors. We feel like there’s a lot of upside for a 200-foot player that gets back on pucks, and then can transition them back out. Being able to cover ice is an important part of the game, and it continues to evolve in that direction,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who indicated Vaakenainen will play in North America in 2018-19 after fulfilling his contractual obligations in Finland. “We tracked what he did on offense at the junior league level prior to him jumping to the elite league, and it lines up pretty well with other elite players that made the jump to that level.
“It’s a valid question and whether he gets put into those [offensive] situations this year is what we’re excited about with his [Finnish] team moving forward.”
While Vaakenainen sounded surprised the Bruins selected him after only a single meeting at the NHL scouting combine, Sweeney said that Boston’s head scout in Finland has enough history with the family to vouch for the kid’s makeup.
So while it’s far from a sexy pick and the Bruins could have tried to hit a home run with an 18th overall selection in a mediocre draft, the B’s will also get some time before anybody is ready to label the Finnish blueliner a boom or a bust.
The rest of the draft night didn’t add up to much for the B’s, however. They made the selection of Vaakenainen after strongly considering dropping down in the first round, and in doing so lost one of the better trade chips in the form of their 2017 first round pick. There were discussions with Minnesota about Marco Scandella and a few trade feelers to other clubs that might listen on a D-man, but the Bruins now have to hit the reset button on trade discussions for left-shot defensemen or top-6 left wings.
Perhaps Scandella’s $4 million per season salary was an issue for the Bruins, or maybe the Bruins didn’t want to give up their first round pick for a 27-year-old D-man coming off a so-so season with the Wild. Either way, there wasn’t enough momentum for the Bruins to get a trade done with a bevy of defensemen rumored to be available if the offer is good enough.
“I was on the record saying that we’d be offering our first round pick for target-specific players, and we did do that,” said Sweeney. “I don’t blame teams for not necessarily wanting to go through with it, so we went ahead with a player we wanted with our own pick. We continue to build what we think is a good group of guys moving forward.
“There are a couple of areas we’d like to address and get better. We’re trying to help our team currently. Certainly Brandon [Carlo] jumped into our lineup and we hope Charlie [McAvoy] will carry over what he did, and we have other players that will push. We have six returning defensemen we feel good about and we’ll certainly push from underneath, but it’s an area we’ll continue to address. We have some forwards that we also hope will come online, but we’ll never stop exploring and trying to improve our club.”
So let’s sum it all up after a week of additions and subtractions from the Original Six organization: The Bruins added a decidedly vanilla defenseman in the first round of the NHL Draft that might be a simple stay-at-home guy, and they weren’t able to muster any kind of deals for a D-man or winger to enhance the NHL roster. On the other hand, they didn’t give up much over the week as well and they didn’t do much at all to harm a solid roster that looked like they were finally on the right track pushing into the playoffs last season.
The Bruins could be in store for an action-packed Day Two of the draft on Saturday full of promising prospects and bountiful trades, but it sure feels like the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago isn’t going to be a very memorable one for the Black and Gold.