Adrian Peterson is playing it safe when it comes to declaring whether or not he will play in Sunday's regular-season opener, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sounded more confident than anybody that Peterson would be ready.
"Not too much doubt. I think he's stayed on schedule and we've seen progress every day," Musgrave said.
The coaching staff has a set number of plays in mind for Peterson, Musgrave said, as well as how many Toby Gerhart and Matt Asiata, the other running backs on the roster, are planning to get. The hard part may be sticking with the plan if Peterson looks like he's back to his explosive ways before he tore two ligaments in his left knee last December.
"That's part of our responsibility to be able to keep our emotions in check and put his safety first and foremost and allow the process to work its way," Musgrave said.
Peterson began training camp on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on Dec. 24 and had surgery on Dec. 30. He slowly worked his way into a practice routine that started on Aug. 12, but coaches didn't allow him to start taking contact in practice until Aug. 27.
The Vikings made the decision to not allow him to play in any preseason games a week before that, but still had the regular-season opener as a logical target date for his return. That's the date that Peterson has been looking forward to since he had surgery.
He said Thursday he will do everything he can to convince the coaches in pregame warm-ups that he is ready to go, but he never doubted he would be ready by Sept. 9.
"I haven't had any doubts. That's not the way I'm programmed. It's not the way you accomplish things – to have doubts," Peterson said. "That comes from people around you. That is what it is. It comes with it. I feel I'm a positive guy, keeping my eyes focused on what I said I want to do."
The team has increased his practice reps from a high of 18 last week to 25 to 35 carries this week, about the same number as Gerhart has been getting, according to Musgrave.
"We worked on the side a little bit more with some passing-game concepts in addition to his run-game concepts. We're expanding on a daily basis getting him prepped," Musgrave said.
"I'd say he's taken what a normal player would in practice."
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.
Vikings have set number of plays for Peterson
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