EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Like many players, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been spending recent weeks back home. Peterson’s whereabouts — he’s in his native Texas — have received a little bit more attention, though, because he is rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee.
Speaking Monday with reporters, Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said Peterson has been rehabbing while he’s in Texas and following the protocol outlined by the team. Spielman said Peterson is doing well and he still is hopeful the franchise running back, who signed a $100 million contract extension before last season, will be ready when the season begins.
“He’s been working down in Houston,” Spielman said. “We set up an offseason schedule for him. So he’ll be going back and forth between Houston and here, but we’ve been very pleased with how he’s been rehabbing.”
Peterson was limited to career lows in games (12) and rushing yards (970) in 2011 due to injuries. First a high ankle sprain caused him to miss three games midway through the season and then he missed the season finale after sustaining a torn ACL and MCL against Washington and went through surgery just six days later. Following the surgery, the Vikings expressed hope Peterson could return by Week 1 of the 2012 season.
On Thursday, Spielman wasn’t ready to make any commitments.
“Again, that’s looking in a crystal ball,” Spielman said. “But the way he’s been working and where he’s at in his rehab, he’ll be extremely close to being ready.”
Peterson is also expected to spend some of his time rehabbing at the team facilities at Winter Park, but there are plans for head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman to travel to Texas to check the running back.
“Sugs has been in contact every day with the therapist down there, so Sugs will go down to Houston some,” Spielman said. “Adrian has a schedule on when he’s up here doing specific things, so we’re monitoring that pretty closely.”
Sugarman and the Vikings have also been monitoring the progress of several other players, many of whom are rehabbing in Minnesota. Spielman said cornerback Antoine Winfield, receiver Michael Jenkins and running back Toby Gerhart have all spent time at Winter Park as they recover from various injuries.
Winfield missed the final seven weeks of the season after suffering a broken clavicle in Week 9 against Green Bay. A few days after the season ended, Winfield said he was ready to begin weightlifting as part of his rehab. Jenkins was out the final five games of the season after suffering a knee injury.
“All have been down there,” Spielman said. “I know Antoine’s been down there rehabbing. All our guys, we expect to be back, guys who had offseason surgeries. Don’t anticipate any issues at this time, but monitor it as we go.”
Gerhart suffered a sprained MCL in the final game of the season, but surgery wasn’t deemed necessary. He has stayed in Minnesota and continued rehabbing at the team facilities. “He’s been down there every day,” Spielman said. “He’s another gym rat.”