Peterson progressing; Vikings stress caution
The Minnesota Vikings were running sprints during one of their
workouts a couple of weeks ago, and Adrian Peterson was watching
off to the side.
Salivating like a kid asking his dad if they can stop for ice
cream on the drive home, Peterson turned to head athletic trainer
”He had a look on his face like, `I know what you want to
do,”’ Peterson said.
Permission granted, Peterson took the brace off his left knee
and jumped in line with the rest of the running backs and wide
”I finished in first place,” he said.
Roughly four months into his post-surgical rehabilitation from
the torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments he
suffered in a game last Dec. 24, Peterson is still plenty fast.
He’s exercising without pain or problems and ahead of the average
pace for this injury recovery.
That doesn’t mean he’s assured of being in the backfield when
the Vikings start the regular season Sept. 9, no matter how
determined his mind or how supernatural his body might be.
”I’m not going to say with certainty that Adrian is going to
play in our first game,” Sugarman said. ”That wouldn’t be fair to
me to him or to this organization. That’s a long way off from now,
and we certainly have a long road to get to that point.”
Peterson, though, left no doubt. One of the most optimistic and
confident players in the NFL, Peterson said he’s set on playing
from the start – and not in a limited role. ”Full throttle,” was
”I’ll be disappointed if I’m not,” Peterson said.
So the Vikings must be able to find the balance between caution
toward their franchise player’s long-term health and acknowledgment
of Peterson’s unique healing ability and physical skill.
”My whole life, I’ve been setting my goals and pushing forward.
I’ve been successful with doing that. I’ve been smart. Don’t get me
wrong. I’ve been smart about the process,” Peterson said.
Said Sugarman: ”He realizes now that there’s too much to lose
by doing something foolish.”
The Vikings opened part of Peterson’s regular rehab drills to
the media on Wednesday, with more than three-dozen reporters and
photographers watching him run around at the indoor field at Winter
Park. Peterson had the operation Dec. 30, and Sugarman said he’s
now safe for any activity. The current goal is to restore function,
comfort and confidence in the knee and to bring his conditioning
back to normal.
Peterson estimated his explosiveness is at about 50 percent. His
ability to change direction and speed ahead out of a cut will be
the last and most critical piece of his recovery. For now, at
least, he said his confidence is ”light years” ahead of where it
was four months ago.
There’s no plan for exactly when he can put pads on and practice
with the team once formal practices begin later this summer and,
Sugarman said, no point in putting a timetable on how long he’ll
need between his first practice and clearance to play in a real
They’re not wasting any time, though, as evidenced by
Sugarman rolled him a soccer ball as he shuffled from side to
side in a basketball defense pose and tossed it back. Then Peterson
ran around in a circle before practicing his explosion out of a
pivot. He ran with a slight limp the width of the field. Then he
high-jumped onto stacks of boxes. The rapid-fire pace of the
activities left Peterson needing a rest, and Sugarman teased him
If there’s any let up, well, the return to elite running back
status can only take longer.
”Those guys know my limit, and they push me to it,” Peterson
Notes: Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said the decision
to release veteran kicker Ryan Longwell dated to the team’s
postseason roster evaluation in January. After drafting Blair Walsh
last month, the Vikings let Longwell go to give him as much time as
possible to find another team. … Free agent LB Rocky McIntosh
worked out for the team on Tuesday but didn’t sign. Spielman said
he’ll continue to monitor McIntosh, who spent the last six seasons
with the Washington Redskins. … Asked for his reaction to the
stiff punishment levied by the league on members of the New Orleans
Saints who took part in the illegal cash-for-hits program: ”Bet it
won’t happen again,” Peterson said.
Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: