The NFL season starts for Minnesota on Sept. 9, barely 8 months after Adrian Peterson had reconstructive surgery on his ripped-up left knee.
Regardless of the medical advances that have made comebacks from anterior cruciate ligament quicker than before Peterson’s return for the opener against the Jaguars was always on an optimistic timetable. But for the star Vikings RB, that hasn’t really been a goal.
Belief is more like it.
”Despite what everyone else had to say, that was my vision,” announced Peterson, who also tore the medial collateral ligament when he was hit in a game last Dec. 24 at Washington. ”I knew it was going to be a journey, a path, to get closer to that vision, and I’m closer. I see it. It’s closer now. It was far away in the beginning, but I’ve been working tirelessly and just moving forward.
”So hopefully here in a couple of weeks – here in a couple of weeks, not hopefully – that vision will be right there in front of me in my lap.”
Peterson has cleared each hurdle in his rehabilitation either ahead of time or on schedule. As nervous as the Vikings must be — and as skeptical as some observers round the league could be — he is probably as capable as any person of taking the ball right at his tacklers without delay in Week 1.
”You don’t really need to put parameters on his rehabilitation. You want to just let it go and see where it takes us,” Coach Leslie Frazier claimed. ”Our medical staff talked all along about what this process would look like and what’s mandatory. We’re in that process right now, so we still have to take it day by day.”
Despite the evolution of the league into a passing-dominated game, Peterson is far too valuable for Minnesota (No. 29 in AP Pro32) to risk him getting hit the wrong way in some meaningless drill. He wore full pads in Tuesday’s practice for the 1st time since his injury, but Frazier went out of his way to warn the defense not to touch him. Football odds
The defensive players light-heartedly complained to their coach that Peterson is generally the one delivering the punishing hits.
”One of the things they told me was, ‘Coach, you know how he runs. What about protecting us?’ Frazier claimed. ”He’s not going to change his running style, we all know that, but they should be smart out there and they know that.”
Peterson smiled when asked if he’d be letting up in at all.
”Oh, I am going to lower my shoulder,” he said. ”Those guys are possibly going to get tired of touching off and bored with me putting my shoulder into them. They’ll start firing back, which is just about what I would like them to do.”
His first contact will come later in the month, perhaps in practice next week or in the team’s 3rd preseason game Aug. 24 against Chargers. As offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave put it, Peterson ”has to go through the mental gymnastics as well as the physical part.”