MANKATO, Minn. — Adrian Peterson put up his fight. In the end, the Minnesota Vikings won.
Peterson was placed on the physically unable to perform list by the team Friday despite Peterson’s best efforts to avoid the designation at the start of training camp. Minnesota wants to remain cautious with its franchise running back despite Peterson saying he’s “full go” on Thursday while reporting for camp at Minnesota State University.
“We think that’s the best thing to do for right now,” Frazier said. “We’ll continue to evaluate him daily and see how he’s progressing. At some point the doctors and Eric Sugarman, our head trainer, will come to me and say, ‘Hey, we think he’s ready to get involved in some of the team activities.’ At this point, we’re going to go through some of the evaluation and make a determination as to when is the right time to put him out there with his teammates.”
Peterson’s rehab following surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments stemming from an injury last December in a game at Washington has been advanced. The intense, hard-working back has set his sights on being ready for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9 and as recently as minicamp last month felt he could even be ready to go during training camp.
But with a strong backup in Toby Gerhart and knowing Peterson will try to be his usual, explosive self at camp, the Vikings wanted to take all precautions by putting Peterson on the PUP list. He can be activated from the list and be a full participant as soon as he’s deemed ready by the team’s medical staff.
During the team’s first practice Friday morning, Peterson was a spectator, watching from the sideline while the Vikings went through a walk-through.
Peterson checked into the dorms for training camp on Thursday optimistic he would be ready for practice.
“To be honest, I’m full go,” he said. “I’m pretty much doing everything, cutting, running, jumping. It’s kind of different when you have pads on and you have guys diving at your legs and you’re making sudden cuts based off your instincts of the game. So, that aspect I haven’t really had a lot of practice with, and that’s really what I want to get out there and get involved with that.”
When they arrived Thursday, Frazier said he would talk later in the evening with Peterson.
“It’s going to be their call,” Peterson said. “My main focus is to get myself ready. To be honest with you, I’m going to try and fight against it so I can get out there and be involved. But ultimately, I know that these guys will do what’s best for the team.”
And Peterson did put up his fight. But the team was also trying to save Peterson from himself.
“He put up a fight,” Frazier said. “Knowing Adrian like you guys do, he wanted to make sure. He said, ‘Coach, don’t hold me back.’ He wanted to get out there, but we’ve got to be smart. We need to see him do a few things and then make a determination. If he had his way, he’d be getting involved today.”
Burton, Shuler not ready yet: Frazier expected Peterson to be the only inactive on the 90-man roster, but receiver Stephen Burton and tight end Mickey Shuler will both open camp on the non-football injury list. Frazier didn’t seem too concerned with either injury and expected neither to be a long-term issue.
Burton, a second year receiver who came on in minicamp while getting some first-team reps, has a jammed toe. Frazier said Burton will work on the side until he is ready to join the team for practice. Shuler has a heel injury that he’s been dealing with for a couple of weeks. He had X-rays and an MRI that didn’t show any problems.
“We think they’re going to be out here in a short period of time, but we have to go through this period where we can evaluate them for ourselves and then make a determination,” Frazier said. “Other than that, everybody should be practicing.”
Burton has dealt with various ailments in his short time with the Vikings after being a seventh-round pick last year. He was bothered by a hamstring during 2011 training camp and missed the end of last season with a knee injury. He was also out during part of minicamp with pneumonia.
“He’s a young guy so it’s hard to draw conclusions at this point in his career,” Frazier said. “We’ll see how he progresses and hopefully this toe will evolve and get better shortly. But it’s too early to draw conclusion about whether or not this is going to be his history.”