EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Adrian Peterson hasn’t wavered all summer: He says he is ready to play for Minnesota in the season opener.
The star running back, recovering from a surgically repaired left knee, said Thursday he has “somewhat” of a gut feeling about whether the Vikings will let him suit up on Sunday for the game against Jacksonville.
Peterson didn’t specify whether he’s expecting to play and knows the decision is out of his hands.
“I’m below; I got coach (Leslie) Frazier, then I’ve got the owner, there’s a lot of people that’s really calling the shots,” Peterson said. “So, only thing I can do is control my part. I’ve been doing that this week, continue to do that today. And before the game, I’m going to go out there and see what I can do and hopefully I will get the nod. I want to play, obviously.”
Frazier has said Peterson’s participation won’t be determined until right before the game. Frazier has pushed a cautious approach, insisting this week that if Peterson does play against the Jaguars his workload will be limited. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the team has determined an appropriate number of carries for Peterson in the opener if he suits up.
Peterson had surgery Dec. 31 to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee stemming from a hit in a game at Washington late last season. The knee injury, and a previous high ankle sprain that limited Peterson to 12 games, kept him from reaching 1,000 yards for the first time in his five NFL seasons. Peterson said it will be tough if he’s told he won’t be active for Sunday’s game.
“It will be a hard pill to swallow,” Peterson said. “So, hopefully that’s not the case.”
Musgrave said he doesn’t have much doubt that Peterson will be ready and the team has developed a plan in case Peterson is able to play.
“We do and we’ve talked about it as a staff, a plan for when he’s in there, when Toby (Gerhart) is in there, when we spell both of them with Matt Asiata,” Musgrave said. “I think it’s a good plan and it will benefit everybody.”
Peterson has increased his workload in practice, with Musgrave saying he’s received between 25 and 35 carries.
Peterson said he is on the “same page” as the coaches and medical staff with the process of his rehabilitation. He said he hasn’t felt any pain since returning to practice on Aug. 12, just some patellar tendon tightness which he’s able to alleviate with stretching.
The four-time Pro Bowl back knows the final test will come only from reacting in game situations. He said he has no concerns about playing in a game and he’s ready to take his first hit.
“I’m ready to play,” Peterson said. “So that’s 10 snaps, 5, 25, 30, I’m ready to roll. That’s my mindset and how I’m feeling about it. So, I’m just going to keep my mind, my mindset, pointed in that direction.”
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