EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — New coach Mike Zimmer won’t unveil the full Minnesota Vikings’ offense until the team’s regular-season opener at St Louis on Sept. 7.
Only then will Zimmer unleash star running back Adrian Peterson.
Zimmer said Peterson is unlikely to play in the preseason. Peterson, Minnesota’s three-time All-Pro back, hasn’t taken a carry in the preseason the past two years and Zimmer is keeping the tradition alive in his first year with the Vikings.
"I doubt it," Zimmer said Tuesday. "Adrian and I have talked about it a little bit. I don’t really see the need. We’re grabbing at the ball pretty good with him. We’re not tackling or anything. He’s doing a great job of the protections and the routes and all that, and obviously he runs really good.
"The only concern you have is that he might not have been hit enough but our guys are grabbing at the ball a lot, punching at the ball when he’s running through there, and I talk to him about those things."
Peterson, 29, was limited to 14 games last season while he dealt with foot and groin injuries and he underwent offseason surgery for the third straight year to remedy the groin injury. He has been a full participant in the offseason program under Zimmer though and said Tuesday he’s ready for the start of the season.
"Yeah, I’m wired up," Peterson said. "I try not to get too wired up. I have to stay calm and get ready for the opener in St. Louis. But yeah man, I’m ready to go. Each and every year for eight years now I’ve been ready to roll."
Peterson said "not really" when asked if playing in the preseason mattered to him.
He didn’t take any carries in 2012 as he returned from major knee surgery. Peterson went on to win the NFL MVP award with the second-most single-season rushing yards in NFL history. Former coach Leslie Frazier also took it easy with Peterson last year.
Peterson appeared in one game, but didn’t have a carry in a brief showing in the third preseason game. The last carries for Peterson in the preseason came in 2011 when he played in three of the games and had 21 total carries.
Minnesota is installing a new offense under coordinator Norv Turner and Peterson said he is comfortable with the work done in the offseason.
"I pretty much feel comfortable," Peterson said. "I’m studying the book hard, got some good coaches surrounding me, coach Kirby (Wilson) is doing a great job of teaching his room well. Of course coach Turner has done a great job out here."