With Adrian Peterson‘s return to practice this week, things are getting back to normal for the Minnesota Vikings. Everything except one little item… Players are not allowed to make contact with Peterson, at all. The proverbial halo has been placed around the team’s star running back.
The punishment for making contact with him? Cut from the roster, done.
“The rules are simple,” said safety Jamarca Sanford. “Do not touch 28. If you touch him, you’re cut.”
I’ve never heard of anything quite like this in my entire life. However, I like the move.
Peterson is set on playing week one, and the Vikings know he is their best player, so they’re trying to make this work. The first logical step after returning to practice, is to do non-contact work. That’s what everyone else does. Players don’t just jump right into full contact.
Now obviously Peterson’s situation is unique, but the progression in his rehab is correct.
“I see it. It’s closer now. It was far away in the beginning, but I’ve been working hard and just moving forward, Peterson said. “So, hopefully, here in a couple weeks – here in a couple weeks,not hopefully – that vision will be right there in front of me in my lap. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
At the end of the day, the Vikings are going to get criticized for doing this. But they want to give it a shot. Peterson has passed all the tests so far, he’s been cleared. Medical professionals have deemed him okay to to return. If they weren’t, you can bet the Vikings wouldn’t be allowing him back yet.
Is Peterson ahead of schedule on his ACL rehab? Yes. But is Adrian Peterson a normal athlete? No.
On top of being physically gifted, he’s received the best medical care money can buy, and he’s trained harder than anyone could ever imagine to get back on the field. Just because he’s ahead of schedule, doesn’t necessarily mean the Vikings are rushing him back.
Now as a fan, am I a little worried? Sure, it’s an ACL injury, and you never know if the player will ever be the same. But do I trust modern medicine and the medical professionals on the Vikings’ staff to make the right decisions? Yes. I’m confident they will shut this down if they’re not seeing the progression they want to.
So I will leave it at that, I’m trusting the pros to make the right call. This is when they have to use their best judgement, because the athlete will always want to get back to the game they love.
The Vikings’ can’t afford to make that fatal mistake.