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NFL Minnesota Vikings

2012 Fantasy Football: Adrian Peterson Worth the Risk at Running Back

There are many uncertainties surrounding Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson heading into the 2012 Fantasy Football season. Will he be ready week 1? If so, how much will he play? Will his carries be limited? All the questions surrounding Peterson are legitimate, as he’s coming off ACL/MCL tears in his left knee.

The consensus is that he will be ready for the start of the season. I’m confident he will play week 1, however I expect his carries to be limited. AP is going to want to go 100% right out of the gate, but the Vikings won’t let that happen.

Draft Availability

Most draft boards have Peterson going somewhere in the 4th or 5th round, which is a fair assessment. Taking AP anywhere in the first three rounds is just too early.

Peterson is a player owners should count on as a No. 2 RB or flex option. He’s not No. 1 back material going into the season. Not saying he couldn’t regain his form, and eventually produce like a No. 1, but it’s foolish to look at him as such early on.

Production Expectations

So what should fantasy owners expect from AP in terms of production? Last season he failed to reach 1000 yards rushing for the first time in his career. Of course that was due to injuries that limited his playing time, but none the less, his yard production was significantly lower than his first 4 seasons.

Even though the rushing yards were down, the TD’s were not, AP still scored 13 times in 2011.

Taking everything into account: injuries, age, and carry restrictions, Peterson’s performance figures to continue on a downward trend in 2012.

Barring any additional games missed this season, I still have AP rushing for 1000 yards, and getting another dozen touchdowns. At the end of the day, he will produce. It may take a few weeks before he looks like the AP of old, but he’ll get there. If anybody is going overcome a devastating knee injury and regain their prior form, its Adrian Peterson, so he could be a big steal for your team.

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Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish