Typically when a player gets injured, the reporting of said injury is quick. Taking it to the extreme, NFL stat generators speculate on a player's return to the game seconds after the player has gone down.
But when it's Secretariat in a league filled with well-heeled thoroughbreds, you don't take unnecessary risks. Adrian Peterson is one of those players.
The problem the Vikings are going to face is that Peterson has personal goals set at the highest levels. Currently, his career pursuits have been put on pace with Hall of Famers like Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. In a profession where your next injury may be your last injury, the Vikings are faced with a dilemma.
Peterson wants to play. Every game counts when your ultimate goal is to have the most rushing yards in league history. The Vikings, in the process of building a billion-dollar stadium, have long-term goals with the face of their franchise.
In both cases, the end game is the same. They both want to have a career for Peterson that ends with the all-time rushing record and doing it as a Viking. But how they get there is where the rub lies.
Peterson is a competitor who wants to get to Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record as soon as possible. If there is a chance he can play Sunday, he will want to. The Vikings, on the other hand, have nothing to gain by risking an offseason of rehabilitation for a season that is, for big-picture intents, over.
Who will win? We know the power a star player can have, which helps explain why Mike Shanahan has an inordinate number of boxes against the wall in his office. If Peterson truly is able play, he could be given the chance. Whether that is good for the franchise or not is another story. The Vikings will likely use their standard measure: If the player is able to protect himself, he will play. In this case, that doesn't appear likely, but the final judgment hasn't yet been made.
If Peterson reaches the all-time rushing record early in the next decade, history won't remember the one to three games that he was shut down to close out the 2013 season. It was precautionary. Given the investment the Vikings have in Peterson's long-term future, they may have the trump card in this situation. It may not help Leslie Frazier's long-term future, but, when the new stadium opens, the plan is for Peterson's image to be front and center.
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.
Holler: Future a factor with Peterson
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