Peterson has 'gut feeling' he'll play Sunday
SEP 06, 2012 12:29p ET
The decision will be made by coach Leslie Frazier and the team's medical staff, who need to see how he responds to practice on Thursday and Friday before deciding if the four-time Pro Bowl back, who just missed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career last year when limited to 12 games, will be a go against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Frazier had said it would be a game-day decision on Peterson, who said Thursday he hoped to show the coaches in pregame warmups that he is ready. Later Thursday, however, Frazier said the decision could come sooner.
"I think we'd know Saturday where things are," Frazier said. "I don't think we'd work him out pregame to see if he's ready to play. We'll have a good idea after we get through with Friday where he stands."
Peterson, returning from surgery Dec. 30 to repair two torn knee ligaments, has been a full participant in practice this week. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has been cleared for full contact in practices, but his status for Sunday's game is still in doubt.
Peterson says he's ready, but he knows he's not the chief decision-maker.
"I'm below," Peterson said of his say in the matter. "I got Coach Frazier, then I got the owner; there's a lot of people that's really calling the shots. So, only thing I can do is control my part. I've been doing that this week, continue to do that today. And before the game, I'm going to go out there and see what I can do, and hopefully I will get the nod. I want to play, obviously."
Peterson's goal since surgery has been returning for the season opener. The ultra-competitive back said he won't be frustrated if he doesn't get as many carries as backup Toby Gerhart and said he'd rather play in a limited role than not at all.
"I'm ready to play," Peterson said. "So that's 10 snaps, five, 25, 30, I'm ready to roll. That's my mindset and how I'm feeling about it. So, I'm just going to keep my mind, my mindset, pointed in that direction."
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Thursday he doesn't have much doubt Peterson will be ready. The running back first started taking contact from defenders during practice last week.
This week, Frazier allowed Peterson to take full contact, though defenders couldn't take Peterson to the ground or go at his legs, the same rule that applies to Peterson's teammates.
Peterson's workload has increased this week. Musgrave said he's received between 25 and 35 carries a day in practice — a similar workload as Gerhart.
"No, not too much doubt," Musgrave said of Peterson being ready for Sunday. "I think he's stayed on schedule, and we've seen progress every day."
Frazier did say Peterson will be in a reduced role if he's able to return. After watching Peterson through nine months of rehab, the Vikings believe the added responsibilities in practice this week will give them a better indication of his health for Sunday.
"We're doing some things a little bit different with him as we prepare for this game," Frazier said. "We would definitely notice a few things different if he weren't handling it very well. It would show up. We'll go back and watch this tape from practice and sit down with him tomorrow and just see where we are."
Throughout his recovery, Peterson has pushed to be ready for the first game of this season. The Vikings' trainers and coaches have had to rein him in at times.
"It's been tough, but ultimately I look at it and know these guys are doing what's best for me," Peterson said. "I know how I am. I can kind of get ahead of myself at times. So, they did a good job of just being patient with me and working with me."
Peterson said he has no concerns about getting into a game for the first time. Since being activated off the physically unable to perform list Aug. 12, he hasn't doubted he'll be ready for the regular season. He said he hasn't had any pain and has dealt with only minor patellar tendon tightness, which he's able to stretch out. Maybe most important, Peterson hasn't had a moment when he has wondered whether his knee was going to hold up.
The last test for Peterson will be taking his first hit in a game.
"It's nothing like being out there, actually being in a game," Peterson said. "I've been doing it to the fullest as far as different cuts and things like that, cutting with all my power and all my force. Really, putting wear and tear on this leg to get it right, so I don't think that I will be caught by surprise with anything."
Peterson has said he is on the "same page" as the coaches and trainers, and Musgrave said everyone knows the plan and that he has a set number of carries he wants to give Peterson if he is active.
"We've talked about it as a staff, a plan for when he's in there, when Toby's in there, when we spell both of them with Matt Asiata," Musgrave said. "I think it's a good plan, and it will benefit everybody."
Musgrave wasn't sharing the plan, but he added that Peterson is well aware of the details. As for what Peterson thinks of the plan?
"He's good. We're all good with it," Musgrave said.
Maybe that's where Peterson's gut feeling comes from. After all the work to get back, he said being deactivated on Sunday would be tough.
"Yes, it will be a hard pill to swallow," Peterson said. "So, hopefully that's not the case."
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