Peterson not expected to play in preseason

Adrian Peterson was last seen running the ball against the St. Louis Rams in the regular season opener of the 2014 season. From the looks of things, he won't be on the field again until the Vikings open the regular season on Monday Night Football in San Francisco.

To the surprise of few, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday that he doesn’t have any plans on playing Adrian Peterson in the preseason, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. To those who have been around the Vikings, that wasn’t a shocker because Peterson hasn’t played in a preseason game since before he tore his ACL in 2011.

Peterson did appear in in a series in 2013, but it was merely window dressing. He was in for one series and didn’t get the ball.

The combination of the previous preseason sit-downs for Peterson should come as no surprise to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. When he was the head coach in San Diego, he made a point not to play Pro Bowl running back and future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in the preseason for five years.

The conventional wisdom is that Peterson (like Tomlinson) has already earned his roster spot and all playing him would do is potentially lead to an unnecessary injury that could sideline him. It isn’t as if the Vikings don’t know what they have in Peterson. Unlike other position players, starting running backs typically hit the ground running when they get their chance to play and teams opt to limit, if not eliminate, their preseason work because they want them to be as fresh as they can be before the hitting gets real and the bumps and bruises start to pile up.

Although Peterson has been out of action since last September, the belief is that both he and the team are better served if Peterson is held back before being unleashed in the regular season opener at San Francisco.

After missing almost an entire season, some might think it would be in Peterson’s best interests to get some cursory action to get his football legs under him, but the Vikings are likely going to err on the side of caution to keep him safe and sound for when the wins and losses will count.

THURSDAY NOTES
  • The Vikings have an OTA practice scheduled for Thursday morning, but there remain questions whether it will be a full outdoor practice or if it will be moved indoors, where the action tends to slow to a crawl. The forecast calls for rain much of the morning.

  • Chad Greenway said Wednesday that he feels great and, despite talk that the competition at linebacker will be wide open, Greenway expects to not only win a starting spot, but plans on being a three-down linebacker.

  • A year ago, the stats analysis website Pro Football Focus claimed the Vikings had the 29th best roster in the NFL. This year, they’ve jumped all the way to No. 8, listing the team’s top five players as Peterson, Harrison Smith, Sharrif Floyd, Everson Griffen and John Sullivan.

  • In the same roster poll, Green Bay was ranked No. 2, Detroit checked in at No. 7 and Chicago was No. 25.

  • The saga of cornerback Derek Cox continues. In 2013, he signed a four-year, $20 million contract with San Diego, but was released following his first season. He signed with the Vikings in free agency in 2014, but was cut. He was picked up by Baltimore, but lasted less than two weeks before being released and not being re-signed during the season. His latest stop is New England, which signed him earlier this week.

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