Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said there are "no indications" that Adrian Peterson won't be ready for the regular-opener, despite the team's medical and training staffs taking a methodical approach with Peterson's return to football activities.
The Vikings kick off the regular season against the Jacksonville Jaguars in one month and one day (Sept. 9) and that remains the target date for Peterson's return. He will continue rehabilitation on his surgically repaired left knee through at least this weekend and maybe longer before he rejoins his teammates for practice for the first time since December.
Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee on Dec. 24 and had surgery to repair them on Dec. 30. More than seven months later, the rehab continues as the Vikings plan for his eventual return.
The ultra-competitive Peterson has been kept abreast of the team's plans, but Frazier said Wednesday that hasn't stopped Peterson from lobbying for a return to practice.
"It's never-ending," Frazier said of Peterson's attempts to convince the decision-makers he is ready to return to practice. "But he knows we have a plan. We talked him through that plan. He's on board. We've just got to keep seeing him progress and then we'll re-evaluate things when we come back from San Francisco."
As the Vikings travel to San Francisco for Friday night's preseason opener, Peterson will remain in Minnesota to continue his comeback. He has spent the first two weeks of training camp working on a side field with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and strength and conditioning coach Tom Kanavy.
When he returned to Minnesota Tuesday from a court appearance in Houston to start the process of defending himself against charges of resisting arrest, he walked out onto the field and began going through about a 45-minute cardio workout. Other days, the strength and training staffs have put him through a grueling combination of cardio, strength and stability exercises under the hot afternoon sun in Mankato while his teammates practice on adjacent fields.
"He's going to be relentless until we let him back out there. We've got to be smart and I've got to continue to listen to what the doctors and trainers tell me, but from everything I'm hearing (it's) extremely positive," Frazier said.
Peterson said he planned to talk with Frazier Wednesday night and is anxious to start taking contact on the knee.
"I've thought about it, and I'm ready to get hit," Peterson said. "It might sound strange, but just to get, that feel," he said. "Around the patellar tendon area, that area kind of stays numb for a good period of time. It cuts the nerves and all that. So it kind of feels funny in that area. So just to take some shots in that area to see how I feel and get back used to being hit."
Despite Peterson and the team's desire to get him out there as soon as he is ready, there is no guarantee he will get any carries or playing time in the preseason.
"If we thought he was capable of maybe playing in that first (regular season) ballgame, we'd like to get him some snaps in the preseason so that he could mentally make that adjustment that he needs to make for game speed and also gain the confidence that he needs," Frazier said. "If we determine that it's not a realistic goal based on what we see once we finally take the reins off of him and let him begin to practice, if we see that that's not going to be possible, then you have you to wait until the season and let that be his first exposure.
"But ideally you wouldn't want that to be his first exposure to live contact and live situations. You'd like for that to happen here (in Mankato)."
Frazier said he isn't sure how long Peterson would need to practice before playing in his first game. That will be assessed on a daily basis.
Many of the determining factors will be based on medical advice, but Frazier said he also needs to see if Peterson has the confidence in his knee to protect himself in game conditions.
So, after two weeks of working with him on a nearly daily basis, Frazier remains optimistic Peterson will be available for the Sept. 9 opener that has been the target date all along.
"There are no indications at this point that he wouldn't be (ready)," Frazier said. "Everything he's done, he's right on point. Now I say that without him ever participating in a drill with his teammates. But all the things he's done on the side, he's looked very, very good. But we still have some more steps to take."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Frazier: Peterson still on track for opener
Viking Update Top Stories
Counting snaps: Vikings vs. EaglesDespite a “soft” performance on the offensive line, according to coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings seemed interested in getting a rotation going there.
Viking Update6:23 AM
Holler: R-E-L-A-XMike Zimmer wasn't kind in his assessment of the Minnesota Vikings Sunday following their humbling 21-10 loss to Philadelphia, but it isn't as though the season is going down the…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:11 PM
Pass protection fails Bradford, VikingsThe Minnesota Vikings still haven’t been able to solve their offensive line issues, a theme going back to last year, but Mike Zimmer and the players aren’t denying it. They have to…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:23 PM
Notebook: Bradford-Wentz duel fizzlesSunday's game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles was supposed to be a marquee battle of quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Carson Wentz. Instead, it was a long day…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 3:39 PM