Adrian Peterson (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is making a believer out of head coach Leslie Frazier. While the Vikings want to be cautious, all signs are pointing to him playing in the season opener.
Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson promised from the time he tore his ACL in Washington on Christmas Eve that he'd be back in uniform for the start of the 2012 season.
Coach Leslie Frazier was a skeptic initially, but the third-year coach sounds as if he's come around to his All-Pro running back's way of thinking.
"I don't know if we'll put him on the practice field anytime soon when we get to (training camp in) Mankato," Frazier said in an ESPN Radio appearance. "But everything indicates there's a very good chance he may be ready for that (season opener) Jacksonville game."
Frazier said the game -- about two-and-a-half months away -- is still too far out for the Vikings or Peterson to know exactly what will happen. It appears likely Peterson will be limited to positional work and rehab during training camp and might participate in on-field team sessions once the team breaks camp and returns to Minneapolis.
Peterson continues to guard against overtraining. As part of that restrictor-plate approach, the Vikings aren't eager to put him in daily competitive situations.
"When you compare him to other guys that have had ACL injuries, he's just so far ahead of where they would be at the same time," Frazier said.
Backup Toby Gerhart finished last season with a 4.9 yards-per-carry average and 23 receptions. He'll likely get a heavier workload in September, when the Vikings play Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, San Francisco and at Detroit.
Sixth offense: Lions' Berry arrested for DUI
A week after team management defended the character of its players, Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry was arrested over the weekend after his car struck multiple parked vehicles.
It was the sixth arrest of a Lions' player this offseason.
"We are extremely disappointed in the reports involving Aaron Berry and the incident in Pennsylvania this past weekend," the Lions said in a statement. "This is not the standard of behavior we expect from any member of our organization. We have strongly and repeatedly emphasized the need to be accountable on and off the field, which makes this incident with Aaron all the more disappointing. We will have further comments regarding this situation when appropriate."
Berry was arrested in the early morning hours Saturday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, causing accidental damage to an unattended vehicle, failure to stop and provide information to law enforcement, according to ABC News. He was arrested at 4:45 a.m. in Harrisburg after a witness allegedly saw Berry exit his vehicle and walk away from the scene. The witness reported the incident to police.
"I want to offer a sincere apology to the Lions organization, Lions fans, the coaches and all my teammates for my actions this past weekend," Berry said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "This is not the example I want to set for young people, and it's certainly not what my team and coaches expect from me. I promise to do everything in my power to make sure this never happens again. I understand these are just words, and it will be my future actions that ultimately will speak for me."
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew have said the team isn't undisciplined and considered the previous incidents a matter of a few players giving a good locker room a bad name.
The continued legal woes won't help that argument.
Berry reportedly refused to cooperate with police and declined a breathalyzer test.
Running back Mikel Leshoure (marijuana possession) and Nick Fairley (marijuana possession, DUI) were each arrested twice in the offseason and offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath was arrested for marijuana possession.
Brees, Saints down to 'little things' in contract talks
Drew Brees might soon bring sorely needed positive publicity to the Saints, hinting on ESPN Radio on Tuesday that only minute details are standing between the franchise quarterback and a long-term contract to stay in New Orleans.
"Why do contract negotiations take this long anyway?" Brees said. "It should be a much more simple process than it is. Certainly, it comes down to certain provisions of the contract. There are little things here and there that take time to resolve."
Brees told ESPN's Outside the Lines that holding out for an entire season is not an option.
"I would never sit out a football season," Brees said on Outside the Lines. "I love this game too much, I love my team too much, but obviously there's a lot that can happen between now and then, so let's just hope we can get a long-term deal done."
Brees was unhappy with being given the Saints' franchise tag worth about $16.3 million, and the sides have until July 16 to reach a long-term agreement. The exclusive franchise tag prevents him from talking with other clubs, but Brees is holding out for a multiyear contract.
There is ammunition aplenty in negotiations. His agent, Tom Condon, has represented Peyton Manning in two separate long-term deals in a nine-month span. Both deals exceeded $90 million in total value; Manning was released by the Colts in February and signed with Denver as a free agent.
Brees has sought a contract for $23 million per year, while the Saints are closer to $18 million.
The Saints will take an approximate $14.4 million salary cap hit if he plays under the franchise marker.
Brees hasn't participated in training activities or minicamp with the Saints while his contract situation is resolved. He told ESPN Radio that he's not ready to sweat the possibilities of missing training camp time or beyond.
"That's about a month and a half away," Brees said, "so a lot of time between then and now. I'm just working on getting something done."
Brees is coming off a strong season, getting named the 2011 Offensive Player of the Year after setting several key NFL single-season passing records. Brees is now atop the league's charts with records of 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing and a 71.2 completion percentage.
The last time Brees played a season with the one-year franchise designation was 2005, his last in a San Diego Chargers' uniform. That situation still doesn't sit well with Brees, and he's determined not to play on another one-year deal if at all avoidable.
"I hope not," Brees told The Dan Patrick Show. "I've played under the franchise tag before back in 2005 with the San Diego Chargers, and that did not end well for me. That ended with a dislocated shoulder in the last game of the season going into a year when I didn't have a contract and fighting for my career at that point.