As the Vikings try to avoid their first ever 2-14 season, they could be without running back Adrian Peterson for at least one more game beyond Week 13.
Per a league source, the high ankle sprain suffered by Peterson could keep him on the sidelines for next Sunday’s game against the Lions.
Peterson suffered the injury on November 20 against the Raiders. It looked much worse than it ended up being, but it has been bad enough to keep him on the sidelines for two weeks and counting.
The question for the Vikings, who have no hope for anything in 2011 other than avoiding further embarrassment, will be whether to use Peterson at all in the final games of a lost season. One factor could be the job status of coach Leslie Frazier beyond 2011; if the team ends up matching the 3-13 low-water mark of 1984, Frazier could be one-and-done, just as Les Steckel was 27 season ago. (On that point, Frazier likely wouldn’t jeopardize Peterson to save Frazier’s job. But Peterson may be even more inclined to get back out on the field to help the cause.)
Then there’s the ongoing push for a new stadium. With the issue of public funding still up in the air, it helps to have a team that gives the locals something about which they can have hope. A 2-14 or 3-13 record doesn’t really do that.
Of course, neither does 4-12 or 5-11. So maybe the best move would be to ensure that Peterson is healthy heading into the 2012 offseason, since right now he’s the most hope the franchise has.