Adrian Peterson has taken a giant leap toward returning from a torn ACL.
The Vikings on Sunday removed Peterson from the Physically Unable to Perform list, which means that (barring a season-ending injury) he’ll be on the Week One roster. But it doesn’t mean he’ll be playing when the Vikings host the Jaguars four weeks from today.
“I want to caution you, I know there are a lot of fans that are very optimistic and excited about seeing him back but for us it’s just a part of the process,” coach Leslie Frazier told the media, via comments distributed by the team. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot other than he’s done a great job in his rehab up to this point. Off to the side with our strength coaches, with [trainer] Eric Sugarman and his staff and our medical staff explained to myself and [G.M.] Rick Spielman that the next step for him in the process would be to get integrated with his teammates and that’s just what it means. He’s done everything he can do on the side, now it’s the next step in the process. It doesn’t mean in the future he’s going to be lining up with our team in the opening game, we don’t know that. We have a long time to determine that, this is just another step in the process.”
Under the terms of the new CBA (which is being honored in most cities not located in Washington state), Peterson must complete a two-day acclimation period without pads.
“[T]oday along with Monday he can do some individual drills, he can do our walk through, but he can’t do any of the padded stuff that we’re doing and we’re in pads right now, so it won’t be until Tuesday when we can put him in pads and let him go through some of the padded work that we’ll do,” Frazier said. “We’ll just keep going through the process.”
Peterson, who won’t be exposed to fully live contact during practice (Frazier pointed out that Peterson never is), embraced the opportunity to get closer to playing.
“I asked him, because we’ve been talking about this for a while,” Frazier explained, “I said, ‘Now is your chance to say Coach, I was wrong, I don’t think I’m ready.’ He said, “I’m not saying that, I’m ready I can’t wait to get out there.’ He’s pretty excited.”
Frazier, who said Peterson did a good job of lobbying for the ability to return to action, wouldn’t say whether Peterson will play in the preseason. Even if Peterson is able to suit up and go as of Week One, it doesn’t mean he’ll be the workhorse. The Vikings could choose to go with Peterson and Toby Gerhart for most if not all of the year, given that it could take Peterson a full season to fully recover from his December 24 injury.