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Vikings’ trainer cautious on Adrian Peterson’s return

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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has made no secret that he expects to recover from his torn ACL in time to take the field Week One. But the Vikings’ trainer is emphasizing the importance of exercising caution.

Eric Sugarman, the Vikings’ head athletic trainer, says he’s willing to be the bad guy who makes Peterson mad by slowing down the rehab process if that’s what’s best for Peterson’s recovery, even though Sugarman thinks it’s great that Peterson is optimistic about being on the field when the Vikings play the Jaguars on September 9.

“I love Adrian,” Sugarman told the Star-Tribune. “But let’s make this clear: I’m still not going to be quoted as saying he’s going to play in the first game. That’s not fair. I don’t know that. . . . He’ll keep throwing that out there. And good for him. That’s great. That’s obviously our goal, to get him playing the first game. But only if he’s functionally safe to do it. This is our franchise. We can’t be foolish about this.”

Peterson has normal motion in his knee, can run fast in a straight line and doesn’t have any swelling, but Sugarman cautions that he’ll still have to get a lot better to play in an NFL game in four months.

“Right now, when he tries to stop on a dime, he looks like he’s on ice,” Sugarman said. “That’s normal. Deceleration is the hardest thing for those guys. Now we’re starting to pound all that over the next couple months — function and deceleration. That should just take us right to where hopefully he needs to be.”

But if Peterson isn’t where he needs to be, Sugarman will hold him out, no matter how badly Peterson wants to be on the field.

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41 Responses to “Vikings’ trainer cautious on Adrian Peterson’s return”
  1. bowb4greg says: May 9, 2012 9:04 AM

    I wish him the quickest recovery possible, most exciting RB to watch out there

  2. kevinwi says: May 9, 2012 9:06 AM

    as it should be.

  3. bigks77 says: May 9, 2012 9:09 AM

    Keep the Vikings news coming! Love it, you know who the true fans are of PFT and NFL!

  4. conormacleod says: May 9, 2012 9:11 AM

    Take your time and do it right AP. It looks like the team and a new stadium will be there waiting for you when you are 100%.

  5. wludford says: May 9, 2012 9:12 AM

    A trainer that wants to rush you through the process isn’t going to be a trainer for long. Good comments and approach.

  6. Justin says: May 9, 2012 9:13 AM

    Sugarman is a good athletic trainer. Dude has been with the Vikings for a while now.

  7. dublindemonszfl says: May 9, 2012 9:16 AM

    Man of Steel, keep working AP will see you soon enough, but remember better to finish strong then start to soon.

  8. duece5 says: May 9, 2012 9:18 AM

    The fact that he has NO SWELLING at this moment is great news.

    Having 2 knee ACL reconstruction surgeries myself, two different knees, I understand what Sugarman says, the decellaration is SO difficult to do before 6 months is passed.

    In general, you start to feel pretty good at about 6 months, those next 3 months you feel like you can do most those same things again…..accelerate, decel, turn on a dime. The staright line running is easy.

    I will be surprised as Sugarman stretches him on these harder drills that AP won’t have some sort of swelling…….but AP is a freak and young.

    Sugarman is exceptional at what he does, and he will make sure ALL DAY is ready, whether its week 1 or beyond!

    Praying for you AP!

  9. kingfish4242 says: May 9, 2012 9:27 AM

    Eric Sugarman, the Vikings’ head athletic trainer, says he’s willing to be the bad guy who makes Peterson mad by slowing down the rehab process if that’s what’s best for Peterson’s recovery,

    ===================================

    Good for him. Jerry Rice made the mistake of trying to come back way too early from his ACl tear. Be patient AP, the league needs you.

    I’m a Saints fan,but you have to admire AP’s talent. He’s a beauty to watch. Every Rb is unique and it’s unfair to compare them to anyone,but that’s part of being a fan. He has the best combination of speed and power I’ve seen since Bo Jackson was healthy.

  10. mjkelly77 says: May 9, 2012 9:27 AM

    I think he should play it safe and take the whole year off.

  11. Christian says: May 9, 2012 9:30 AM

    It’s refreshing to see someone advising caution. Sports needs more men like Sugarman.

  12. kingfish4242 says: May 9, 2012 9:31 AM

    duece5 says:
    May 9, 2012 9:18 AM
    The fact that he has NO SWELLING at this moment is great news.

    Having 2 knee ACL reconstruction surgeries myself, two different knees, I understand what Sugarman says, the decellaration is SO difficult to do before 6 months is passed.

    ===================================

    Yep and former Vikes RB Terry Allen showed it’s possible to come back and be a very good Rb after ACL surgery on both knees. Once again,be patient AP.

  13. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 9, 2012 9:32 AM

    Nothing but positivity coming out of Minnesota these days. I feel like a safe is about to fall on me.

  14. buddgrant says: May 9, 2012 9:33 AM

    Jeez Florio, I knew you were a Viking fan, but still… if people didn’t know that before, they will now! You may have to rename the site provikingstalk.com. Not counting your one liners, my PFT front page has 14 headlines on it–FIVE are about the Vikings and ONE has a Viking picture on it (the CC article). That’s almost half the news here having a Vikings angle. Add to that the Spielman interviews around draft time, your man crush on Kalil… Just change the name already! Skol Vikings!

  15. adantsa says: May 9, 2012 9:36 AM

    AP is a freak of nature, if anyone can come back from this 100% its this guy. Now give us a stadium and let these young bucks figure out the game.

  16. rajbais says: May 9, 2012 9:49 AM

    Vikes, get Gerhart & Booker ready for any heavy lifting!!!!!

    Also, find a tailback on the street if you need or can sign one (ie Cedric Benson)!!!

  17. canonroad says: May 9, 2012 10:20 AM

    Someone else might have already posted this- apologies if I missed it.

    Frazier was talking to some local reporters during the draft, or at some point recently.

    From what I gathered on twitter, he said AP ran wind sprints with the entire team- and beat everyone.

    That blew my mind.

    Don’t rush him. A 100% healthy AP in week 4 is better than a 70% healthy and at risk AP in week 1.

  18. hans2410 says: May 9, 2012 10:23 AM

    duece5 says:
    May 9, 2012 9:18 AM
    The fact that he has NO SWELLING at this moment is great news.

    Having 2 knee ACL reconstruction surgeries myself, two different knees, I understand what Sugarman says, the decellaration is SO difficult to do before 6 months is passed.

    ===================================

    2 ACL reconstructions and you sure know what you are talking about when it comes to football rehab.

    Are you Deuce McAllister by any chance?

  19. zidanevalor says: May 9, 2012 10:25 AM

    I think it is in the best interest of the franchise 3-5 years from now to start AP on the PUP list. If the Vikings are 2-4 or worse after six weeks, the Vikings should just shut AP down for the year. If the Vikings are 3-3 or better, then they can consider bringing him back.

    It makes little sense I feel to rush AP back for a team that’s not even going to make the playoffs. I know modern medicine and rehab is pretty amazing, but an ACL tear is still a serious potentially life-changing injury. I think it’s best to keep rebuilding, let Ponder and Kalil get another year of experience under their belts, then bring back the franchise RB who will have had 21 months to heal for the 2013 season.

  20. leclair63 says: May 9, 2012 10:28 AM

    I hope All Day is ready just in time for the SF game, They have one of the best run defenses ever. So that will be his true test. If he can score and get near 100 yards id say he hasnt lost a step.

  21. jimmysee says: May 9, 2012 10:31 AM

    Al Harris also had great optimism, worked hard to rehab, and played a much less physically demanding position as cornerback. He never really made it back.

  22. Stupid Raiders Fan says: May 9, 2012 10:38 AM

    He’ll miss his usual 4+ games this season as always.

  23. johnnyb216 says: May 9, 2012 10:41 AM

    Looks like another rough season for the queens and it doesn’t even start for another 4 months.

  24. dougydougdoug says: May 9, 2012 10:59 AM

    It’s a real shame. Like so many before, he spent the prime of his career on a very bad franchise. I don’t see him being able to contribute much any longer. This just isn’t the kind of devastating injury that the best running back in the league can come back from. It would be one thing if he were an immobile QB, protected in the pocket. But for the toughest position on the field? No, sorry, my Minnesota brothers and sisters, he is done.

  25. simplyapple2 says: May 9, 2012 11:26 AM

    Off the record. His nickname is AD as in “All Day,” not AP. At least that’s what the Sooners and Big 12 fans have always called him.

    And if the Vikings want him to be out there running All Day during the 2012 Games… They need to bring him on slow. Freak of nature not, the timeline for recovery is more extensive than “I think it feels good.” I see him being back to true form come 2013. Afterall next to Their all Universe DE, he’s all they have. They realize that. Just need to pass the word on to AD.

    We don’t need a “Cun uh MRI fix mi knee? You mus’d be frum mit’len!”

  26. stellarperformance says: May 9, 2012 11:30 AM

    Offensive lineman maybe. Premier running back? Never the same again.

  27. gripless says: May 9, 2012 11:32 AM

    Too bad Frazier was not able to coach and keep him out of a game he demanded to play in.

  28. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: May 9, 2012 12:05 PM

    If you really watch Adrian Peterson play….he isn’t that good…..just being honest….

  29. imaginesuperbowlwin says: May 9, 2012 12:09 PM

    jimmysee says:
    May 9, 2012 10:31 AM
    Al Harris also had great optimism, worked hard to rehab, and played a much less physically demanding position as cornerback. He never really made it back.

    __________________________________

    He never really made it back after AP ran over his ass a couple of years ago.

  30. imaginesuperbowlwin says: May 9, 2012 12:11 PM

    rexryanschoolofpodiatry says:
    May 9, 2012 12:05 PM
    If you really watch Adrian Peterson play….he isn’t that good…..just being honest….

    ___________________________________

    Surely you are referring to the former Bear!

  31. calbsure says: May 9, 2012 12:41 PM

    Here’s hoping that he comes back when he is 110%, not anything less. The selfish part of me would love to see him on the field day 1, but playing at the level we Viking fans have become accustomed to is omni important especially with the revamped OL and the weapons they have accumulated around him. Gerhart can hold down the fort until he is 110%. No one wants to see him hurt again because he starts playing to early. Just would love to see the old AD running clean through wide open holes due to the vertical game has to be respected this year. LETS GO VIKES!

  32. dkphilly1122 says: May 9, 2012 12:45 PM

    Good to see AP is making progress, but listen to the trainer. You got a long, great career still ahead of you!! As a diehard Vikings fan, WE NEED YOU. It should be exciting seeing AP eventually run behind Kalil!! Let’s Go Vikings!!!!

  33. dougydougdoug says: May 9, 2012 12:59 PM

    It’s funny how being a “fan” can cloud people’s objectivity. I noticed all the thumbs down regarding the statements I made prior. I only stated the obvious. So I would be curious, if any of the people who found my remarks to be of saccharin flavor, can you please list the names of previous running backs who sustained similar injuries, and then came back to contribute meaningfully for years after? I would give you a little (very little) slack, if the Vikes had an established QB. But they are about as far from that as really any bottom rung team in the league.

    Oh, one more thing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe that he’s only a few years away from the precipice of age thirty. No?

  34. minnyfan4life says: May 9, 2012 1:14 PM

    I would fun to see him in week one but personally I would rather see him sit and wait until week 4 to come back… we have two games right away that we have a good chance of winning without him and the game against the 49ers will be tough even with him so come back week 4 against the lions and be a solid contributor and give us a fair chance at winning. No need to rush back its about the long term not the right now for you and the Vikings.

  35. Carl Gerbschmidt says: May 9, 2012 1:52 PM

    thankheavenfornumberseven says:May 9, 2012 9:32 AM

    Nothing but positivity coming out of Minnesota these days. I feel like a safe is about to fall on me.

    ———-

    We’ll see if AD makes it back in time for the opening of your new palace…

  36. simplyapple2 says: May 9, 2012 2:00 PM

    @ dougydougdoug

    I agree with ya man. That’s the problem with uneducated arm chair QB and GMs that blog on this site. Not to mention the people that backlash on everyone that does something well, only to look at a past action, as if they are so pious. People are so judgemental. AP needs to not rush this if he ever wants to be a factor or live up to his hype. Bo Jackson, priest Holmes, Booby Miles all were rushed in the recovery process.

  37. bphoward says: May 9, 2012 2:05 PM

    @ dougydougdoug

    Terry Allen & Willis McGahee.

    To say he won’t be able to come back from the type of injury he sustained is being very presumptuous. There are too many factors to just say out-right he won’t be the same. His first year back, he most likely won’t be 100%. It’s the second year back that most players see themselves return to form. How about give the guy a chance before you stick a fork in him and call him done. I’m not a Vikings fan, but do enjoy watching him run, and hope that he does come back from his injury… even if it takes a couple years from him to truly make it back.

  38. buddgrant says: May 9, 2012 2:09 PM

    Yeah, cuz if you call him AP, nobody will know who you are talking about….??? They might think you are talking about Alan Page!

    simplyapple2 says: May 9, 2012 11:26 AM

    Off the record. His nickname is AD as in “All Day,” not AP. At least that’s what the Sooners and Big 12 fans have always called him.

  39. bphoward says: May 9, 2012 2:39 PM

    @ simplyapple2

    Bo Jackson and Priest Holmes are hardly names I would bring up in this discussion. Bo had his hip popped out of its socket, which led to a poor blood supply and to eventual replacement of said hip. Priest Holmes had a spinal column injury. In both cases, neither were rushed to come back, and both suffered much more severe injuries.

  40. simplyapple2 says: May 9, 2012 4:24 PM

    @bphoward

    Yes your correct on Bo Jackson. I’m saying he never fully recovered which caused him to lose his speed. Hence the fact he stayed with baseball and only was a DH.

    Holmes was on pace to have gone back to back to back with 20+ Tds in a season. He hurt his hip. That gave way to Larry Johnson making some headlines if I recall right. Yea you’re right in the fact that he hurt his spine. However he hurt his hip. Was pushed to comeback to regain his role. Hurt his knee or hip again. Sorry I didn’t mean for this to become a works cited page forum with legit resources. I was going off of my own knowledge from the time watching him as I grew up. The fact of the matter is that if a player isn’t healthy and not ready he shouldn’t come back! AD or AP whatever you guys want to call him will be best off to wait and have a mid season return. Joint and ligaments take longer strengthen and heal than muscles.

    Players are not doctors.

  41. kingfish4242 says: May 10, 2012 11:45 AM

    jimmysee says:
    May 9, 2012 10:31 AM
    Al Harris also had great optimism, worked hard to rehab, and played a much less physically demanding position as cornerback. He never really made it back.

    ===================================

    Harris was also well into his 30’s. Cb’s also have to plant and turn on a dime just like Rb’s. Also, there is no position in the NFL except for Kickers that isn’t physically demanding.

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