The rumor of the final week of Vikings training camp is going to be when (or if) Adrian Peterson is officially activated from the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
It could happen today. An ESPN report says he will be limited in Sunday morning's walkthrough practice with full participation by Tuesday. If not, it should be in the coming days.
When Peterson went down with a devastating knee injury of Christmas Eve last December, coaches, teammates, fans and media types all started doing the math. Whether math-challenged or math-proficient, it didn't take a whiz to figure this one out. Under a best-case scenario, there was going to be a nine-month rehab period for such an injury. It was a worst-case scenario type injury. Under the nine-month scenario, that would take us to Sept. 24 from the time of the injury or Sept. 30 from the time of the surgery. More than likely, the return rate was set at a timetable closer to 10-12 months.
As dawn breaks on Aug. 12, the potential exists that Peterson returns to the practice field today. Is it too early? At the time of the injury and the numbing franchise consequences that followed over the next few days, Vikings personnel went on record as saying that, if anyone could beat the standard timeline, Peterson could get the job done. We believe it. Having seen the superhuman ability to withstand pain and relentless desire to be emblazoned among the best at his position in the history of the game – not just his era – Peterson has separated himself from the majority of players. If anyone can do, it's him.
One of the things that makes great players great is that they defy expectations. A decade ago, Cris Carter suffered a high ankle sprain that would have sidelined the vast majority of wide receivers. He found the will to get back on the field and play when the pain was excruciating. The machismo of the NFL says that injuries sideline other guys, not me.
Peterson has been lobbying with the coaching staff to get back on the field since the first day of training camp. To some guys, rules don't apply. Timetables aren't for them. Peterson is one of those guys.
Whether we see Peterson on the practice field with his teammates or off on his own will be the recurring question of the Vikings' 2012 preseason until it is resolved. Peterson claims he's ready. Leslie Frazier has hinted the time is coming … soon.
Only hindsight will tell us if, in the long-term perspective, getting A.D. back on the field in the near future is a good move or a bad one. But it seems like that moment is coming and it's going to come soon. From there, fingers will be crossed that the right decision was made.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.
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