INDIANAPOLIS -- They don't talk about schemes or possibilities with Adrian Peterson. They talk health.
NFL teams have gone through the banks of video of Peterson's runs at Oklahoma. They've seen the cuts, the stops and starts, the linebackers and safeties left tackling air.
They've also seen Peterson on crutches. Or wearing a sling. So they wonder.
Peterson came to this week's NFL Scouting Combine as the top running back available in the April draft. Still, he has questions to answer.
"I just say, 'It's really just been knick-knack injuries,'" Peterson said Friday at the combine at RCA Dome. "I haven't had any surgeries."
Peterson played three seasons for the Sooners and carried the ball less each season, thanks to injuries. He was a runner-up to Matt Leinart in Heisman balloting in 2004 -- the highest finish ever for a freshman -- after gaining 1,925 yards.
Then he missed all or more than half of four games with a high ankle sprain as a sophomore. This past season, he sat out six games with a broken collarbone, thanks to an awkward dive in the end zone at the end of a touchdown run.
In all, his carries went from 339 to 220 to 188, although NFL coaches give him credit for working to return for the Sooners' Fiesta Bowl game with Boise State. Peterson averaged 5.4 yards in three seasons of running in the Big 12, one of the country's tougher running conferences. But the time spent missing in action gives teams pause.
"He's a big, powerful back," Houston General Manager Rick Smith said. "He's strong, powerful. He's fast, so any time you have a running back with that combination of athletic ability, then you get excited about what he can bring to your offense -- in any scheme."
It's unlikely Peterson, one of 40 early entrants in this year's draft, will fall to the Texans at No.8. Oakland drafts No.1, followed by Detroit, Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
Oakland has needs at quarterback and running back, and Detroit and Cleveland have running back issues, although the Lions are expected to take Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas.
"We've done quite a bit of research on Adrian Peterson," Cleveland General Manager Phil Savage said Friday. "He's an explosive runner. Any time he touches it, there's a chance he'll take it the distance. He's the kind of runner who could have four or five what you call ordinary runs, then he explodes for a 60-yard run."
Savage said all the reports the Browns received from Oklahoma about Peterson were glowing. That includes what Sooners coaches said about his temperament and his toughness.
Peterson measured at 6 feet 11/2 and 217 pounds. Doctors told him his collarbone still is healing, but time (and no contact) will make it as strong as it once was.
"Basically, I'm just going out and focused on performing well," he said, noting he will perform every test and drill asked of him this weekend.
Relaxed and flashing diamond studs from both earlobes, Peterson was nonetheless caught off-guard Friday when it was suggested to him he might end up on a team with a rebuilding offensive line. The question: How much magic does he have?
"How much magic do I have?" he asked, a puzzled laugh coming next. "There isn't much I can do about the offensive line. I just can go out there, and whatever crease I can find, I'm going to try to stick it in there."
He said he doesn't dwell on what might have been.
"[They're] missed opportunities, but no regrets," he said. "Things happen for a reason. What happened in the past is in the past. I'm looking forward to the NFL and my dreams. I'm taking it one shot at a time."
Just so long as he gets up, nobody is going to worry.
'He's strong, powerful. He's fast, so any time you have a running back with that combination of athletic ability, then you get excited about what he can bring to your offense.'