Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adrian Peterson Sits Until Opener

It hasn't been officially announced, but a number of Twin Cities media outlets are reporting that the Vikings have decided to keep running back Adrian Peterson on the sidelines for the rest of the preseason.

Although there was talk of the running back returning to play Friday in the Minnesota Vikings' exhibition game against San Diego, an NFL source said Monday night that the Vikings are planning to keep the Pro Bowl running back on the sideline for their two remaining preseason games.

The Vikings' exhibition finale will be Aug. 30 in Houston.

Peterson has long pointed to being back for the team's regular-season opener on Sept. 9 against Jacksonville and club officials have made it clear that is a realistic possibility. The current plan remains for the Vikings to get Peterson on the field for that game.

This isn't a huge surprise, but it's a noteworthy story.

Vikings radio voice Paul Allen has noted a number of times on his daily show that Peterson could have practiced in camp from the outset, and he could have played in the preseason opener at San Francisco. The fact he hasn't played in a game yet has nothing to do with his rehab, but instead is simply a precaution.

Is it the right move?

Only the Vikings and Peterson can say for sure, but if I were a Vikings fan, I'd much rather see No. 28 in a preseason game if he's healthy enough to play in one.

One of the things I've learned from covering sports over the years is that there is often a mental hurdle for an athlete of any caliber to overcome when he suffers a major injury. That hurdle can be overcome by taking a hit, giving the player the feeling that he's finally okay. Sometimes, it takes a longer time than others, and there are some who can come right back with no ill effects.

Clearly, the Vikings are thinking Peterson can come back with little or no ill effects. Even if he's limited on Sept. 9, they have Toby Gerhart at their disposal, and he's looked strong so far in the preseason.

Peterson, when healthy, is unquestionably the best running back in the NFL. If Christian Ponder is going to improve as a passer, it is only going to help Peterson make big plays in the running game. If they can work off each other, there's no reason the Vikings won't be much improved when it comes to matriculating the ball down the field and scoring points.

Now ... about preventing points from being scored ...

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