December 24, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) gestures to fans while being carted off the field after injuring his left knee against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Vikings Bringing Adrian Peterson Along With Caution

The Minnesota Vikings could begin the 2012 NFL season without star running back Adrian Peterson. There are reports that Peterson could be ready for the start of the team’s training camp, but head coach Leslie Frazier remains cautious and it remains a possibility that Peterson could see the PUP list in his future.

Peterson is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, which he tore on Christmas Eve last year. While Peterson seems very optimistic, Frazier says that he expects Toby Gerhart to carry the load for the early part of the season. Frazier does, however, admit that Peterson is making progress.

“He looks good,” Frazier said. “He’s moving around without any hitch, he’s doing a lot of good things. What you don’t know is how he’s going to be when you put pads on and someone comes and they dive at his ankle or they look as if they’re going to grab his knee. That you can’t predict.

“But based on where he is today, everything is moving in the right direction. I don’t know if we’ll put him on the practice field anytime soon when we get to Mankato. But everything indicates there’s a very good chance he may be ready for that Jacksonville game [on Sept. 9]. We’re still far enough out that you really can’t say that right now.”

The hardest part for Frazier has been keeping his star player under wraps and to keep Peterson from pushing too hard while he recovers.

He thinks he’s ready to go now,” Frazier said. “He keeps telling [us] we need to let him do this, let him do that. I said, ‘Man, you’ve still got a little time here Adrian. We don’t play until early September.’

“But that probably will be the biggest challenge. Just like it was when he began his rehab. He gets out of the hospital, he wants to try to jog. He wants to try to do things that there’s no way you could do. But he’s unique.”

While a coach may be inclined to listen to their star player, the Vikings would be wise to wait until Peterson is cleared by the doctors and fully healthy. There is no doubt that the Vikings are a better team with him, but they need to make sure that he doesn’t push the action too early or he could end up with long-term damage.

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