This past weekend, it was reported that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson could be activated for the team’s third preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Now, however, it appears that the All-Pro runner will be watching from the sidelines for the third straight game.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Vikings aren’t ready to let Peterson see live action just yet.
“Vikings do not plan to play RB Adrian Peterson Friday vs. San Diego, though team is expecting him to argue his case for playing time in game,” Schefter said via Twitter.
If this is true, then it means that Peterson won’t see the field at all this preseason.
Assuming he misses the game against the Chargers, the Vikings will be unwilling to play Peterson in Preseason Week 4 for a number of reasons. First, they wouldn’t field their first-team offensive line in the preseason finale. Second, they wouldn’t dare risk Peterson running behind the second-team offensive line.
When Peterson returned to practice last week, the coaches implemented a “touch 28, get cut” rule. Even though it’s unlikely that he will play on Friday, it’s expected that the Vikings could allow some contact on their star running back this week during practice, dropping the threat of cutting any player that touches him during drills in the process.
Despite his surprisingly-rapid recovery from an ACL/MCL tear last December, it appears that Peterson’s role will still be limited once he re-enters the lineup for the Vikings during the regular season. Concerns have been partially alleviated by the impressive performance that backup running back Toby Gerhart has put on this preseason, though.
Especially since the Vikings aren’t exactly considered contenders this season, they should avoid rushing Peterson back into the lineup. Better to have him back by midseason than watch him carted off the field again because he came back too soon.