NFL Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson Takes Hits in Practice, Tells Defenders to “Buckle Up”

It was only a matter of time, but Adrian Peterson is one step closer to being back. On Monday, the star running back absorbed some contact in practice for the first time since his knee injury last December.

Players were finally allowed to hit Peterson…but only above the waist.

“We put him through some things today,” Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said. “We told our defense to hit him a little bit and wanted to see how he responded. So I’m anxious to talk with him and see how he did.

“I told (running backs coach) James Saxon to tell him there would be contact today and if the guys hit him too hard to make sure he let me know and let Sax know. He (Peterson) told James Saxon, ‘You tell coach to tell those defensive players to buckle up.’ I knew it would get him fired up. He did pretty good just from an observation standpoint. We’ll see when I talk with him, see how he feels.”

Peterson was never fully taken to the ground Monday, but did take some pretty good shots. While this might not seem like a big deal to some, it’s still a step in the right direction.

All preseason long, people have scrutinized the Vikings for “rushing” Peterson back too soon. In actuality, they’ve just taken things one step at a time. The “no contact” rule has finally been lifted, and the team is just moving to the next logical step: you can hit him, just stay away from the knee. Makes perfect sense to me.

So will he or won’t he? Will AP play week one?

Barring any setbacks, Peterson is a go week one. However just like his rehab and return to practice, it’s going to be in stages. Right now, I’m at 10 carries for AP in week one. He might technically start the game because it is his job, but there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to be playing more of a backup role to Toby Gerhart, whether he likes it or not.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish