EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson is ready to go for the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Leslie Frazier isn’t so sure he’s ready to let Peterson in a game.
Following his first week of practice since coming back from major knee surgery, Peterson’s status for Friday’s third preseason game is in doubt. Peterson, coming back from surgery Dec. 31 to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee, was activated off the physically unable to perform list and returned to practice in training camp last week.
Minnesota will continue to ramp up the intensity for their star running back in practice this week as the team returned to the team’s facilities at Winter Park in Eden Prairie.
“We’re going to give him a little bit more each day, see how he responds and continue to determine what’s the next step,” Frazier said Sunday. “Just going day-to-day. We have some ideas of how we want to approach it, but a lot of it depends on how he feels with some of the things we’re going to give him this week.”
Peterson said his knee responded well to the first week of practice, noting he had been working harder on the side fields with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and strength coach Tom Kanavy the previous two weeks. Peterson was slowly worked into the team drills when he was activated last week. He participated in walk-throughs and light drills the first two days, per the protocol of the collective bargaining agreement.
On his first day back, Peterson practiced about 10 snaps in team drills, carrying the ball twice. He played about 13 snaps on the final practice day in Mankato, with four carries. He said he hasn’t felt any soreness in his knee since being activated.
“No, the first couple of days I worked out, you seen me on the side, I was working harder than that,” Peterson said. “No soreness.”
Peterson said he is improving every day while he has been working back in with his teammates. The biggest step left is for Peterson to take contact and being tackled. He has talked about his desire to play in at least one preseason game and Frazier would also like to see Peterson get action in the preseason.
After seven months of rehab, Peterson said he would like to play this week.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind,” Peterson said. “To be honest with you, it wouldn’t really matter either way. I feel like I’ll be ready to roll.”
If Peterson played this week, he would have more of a chance to work with the first-team offense, which will likely be limited in playing time in the final preseason game. The Vikings might not want to expose Peterson behind the backup offensive line.
But five days before the ever-important third preseason game, Peterson and Frazier weren’t sure if his first game action would come Friday at the Metrodome against the San Diego Chargers.
“We’ll probably just see how he does with some of the things we’re giving him,” Frazier said. “Probably make a determination by Tuesday or Wednesday if we want to do any more.”
Backup Toby Gerhart knows the importance of Peterson returning.
“It will be good for us and for him,” Gerhart said. “It will be proving all the naysayers wrong that doubted he was going to make it back as quickly as he has. For him personally, coming off injury you want to get that first one under your belt, that first hit in live bullets. I think he’ll be excited.”