Lost in the will-he-or-won’t-he Percy Harvin saga last week, the news about the recovery of Adrian Peterson got little attention.
That may be the case come training camp as well.
Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com said there are signs the Vikings running back could open training camp on the physically unable to perform list.
Peterson tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Dec. 24, and hasn’t done any football work since then. He’s still targeting the regular season opener, but Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has been managing expectations for some time, even saying Toby Gerhart might have to “carry the load.”
“He looks good,” Frazier said. “He’s moving around without any hitch, he’s doing a lot of good things. What you don’t know is how he’s going to be when you put pads on and someone comes and they dive at his ankle or they look as if they’re going to grab his knee. That you can’t predict.
“But based on where he is today, everything is moving in the right direction. I don’t know if we’ll put him on the practice field anytime soon when we get to Mankato. But everything indicates there’s a very good chance he may be ready for that Jacksonville game [on Sept. 9]. We’re still far enough out that you really can’t say that right now.”
Frazier’s also saying that keeping the reins pulled back on Peterson hasn’t been easy.
“He thinks he’s ready to go now,” Frazier said. “He keeps telling [us] we need to let him do this, let him do that. I said, ‘Man, you’ve still got a little time here Adrian. We don’t play until early September.’
“But that probably will be the biggest challenge. Just like it was when he began his rehab. He gets out of the hospital, he wants to try to jog. He wants to try to do things that there’s no way you could do. But he’s unique.”
Peterson’s a special back, and there’s an obvious temptation to listen to him. But seemingly every injured player thinks he’s further along than his training staff thinks, and the safer play for the long term (and that’s the way the Vikings have invested in him) might be to give him more time, whether he likes it or not.