Adrian Peterson (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is cutting on his surgically repaired knee and said he’s “wide open,” but also cautioned he isn’t where he needs to be.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson continues to progress in his rehabilitation from knee surgery in December to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, but the timeline on his return to “football” activities remains an uncertainty.
Peterson has stated that his goal is to do something in training camp, but just how much is a question that even Peterson, ever the determined optimist, couldn’t answer a little more than five weeks away from camp’s July 27 start.
“My goal is to be able to go out and participate somewhat during training camp. That’s my goal. How much? I’m sure the staff, they’ll evaluate things and they’ll let me know, try to do the best thing for me,” Peterson said Wednesday at Vikings minicamp. “I’m just going to go with the flow and control what I can control at this time, and that’s just getting back.”
Peterson tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Dec. 24 and had surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews on Dec. 30.
He started running on dry land at the end of March and showed off his rehabilitative progress in front of the media in May when he shuffled briskly back and forth, sprinted around a hula hoop, ran wind sprints and did plyometric work, jumping repeatedly on top of a stack of boxes about 3½ feet high.
He remains on track for an eight- to nine-month rehabilitation and optimistic about playing in the Vikings’ first regular-season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The most recent progress was in his ability to start cutting, but even he cautioned that still isn’t to a football level.
“It's hard to imitate actually being out there on the field and cutting on a dime. It's football, it's different,” Peterson said. “I think that will be the next test, but I'm doing as much as I can to kind of imitate that off the field.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson will continue his rehab over the next five weeks between Minnesota and Houston, but said there haven’t been any setbacks yet, allowing Frazier to be optimistic that Peterson could reach his goal of being ready for the regular-season opener.
“We need to see him cut, be able to explode out of a cut, change direction without having any residual effects from that,” Frazier said. “Then the next step would be maybe putting shoulder pads and seeing how he takes contact, seeing how he cuts when people come at him. But we’ve got to get to a point in another few weeks and months where we’re asking him to do a little bit more and see how he responds. We’re too far out right now from being able to predict where we’ll be five weeks from now, six weeks from now. But there are some things that we’ll need to see before we say, OK, let’s put the pads on and go to work.”
On Wednesday, Peterson was about as cautious as ever when predicting a timeline on his comeback.
“I’m working back towards being myself. It’s funny, I was talking to Percy (Harvin) and he was telling me, ‘For someone to know that you had ACL and MCL surgery, it would be kind of hard to see the difference cutting yesterday,’” Peterson said. “So that made me feel good. I know my body overall and I know I’m just not there yet. It’s not just terrible, but I’m not to where I know I need to be.”
Wide receiver Stephen Burton was diagnosed with pneumonia Wednesday morning and held out of practice after having issues with his breathing during yesterday’s practice.
Receiver Bryan Walters turned an ankle during Wednesday afternoon’s practice and isn’t expected to practice during the final day of minicamp Thursday. Frazier said he expected Walters to be fine by the start of training camp.
Receiver Kerry Taylor suffered a broken finger last week and hasn’t participated in team drills during minicamp.
The Vikings continue to rotate safeties with the starting unit, with Harrison Smith, Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo getting a look.
Safety Eric Frampton returned to practice on Wednesday after an illness kept him away on Tuesday.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said he believes competition is important, but the Vikings have only one kicker on their roster – rookie Blair Walsh. Partly because of Walsh’s rookie status and the nature of the working on timing between the snapper (Culllen Loeffler), holder (Chris Kluwe) and kicker, Priefer said chemistry is important with that unit.
“I don’t think he’d be worried about competition. I wouldn’t be worried about competition because he’s been very successful kickoff-wise,” Priefer said of Walsh. “He’s got a big-time leg. I wanted to make sure that field goal-wise, that we have the chemistry between those guys rolling even before we got to camp and I think we’re doing a good job in that respect. They work very, very hard and they’ve worked really well together this spring.”
On Tuesday, linebacker Jasper Brinkley said he was sitting out because of an issue related to his hip. Brinkley had surgery on his hip during the 2011 preseason and was out for the entire year. However, Frazier on Wednesday said Brinkley was out because of the groin injury suffered two weeks ago during a practice.
“We didn’t want to create a situation where it became something that was going to be nagging him throughout the time that we are away from football so we’ve held him out of the mandatory minicamp,” Frazier said. “We believe that he’ll be ready to go when training camp begins, but with our depth at linebacker, it is something that you have to think about from my standpoint. But you can’t make him go out there and practice if you know it’s going to create some issues for him health-wise, but it does make you a little bit concerned.”
Despite concerns about the Vikings’ depth at linebacker, defensive coordinator Alan Williams thinks it is “outstanding.” With Brinkley sitting out of minicamp this week, Tyrone McKenzie has been taking his place with the first-team defense.
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.