After tearing his ACL and MCL last December and having his knee surgically repaired, Peterson set a goal for himself: he was going to bounce back and play for the Vikings in Week 1 of the 2012 season. Although most were skeptical that he would achieve such a lofty goal, it appears that the All-Pro set out a realistic timetable after all.
The Vikings waited until an hour before kickoff to make the decision, but eventually opted to hand Peterson the start.
Even as the starter, it’s likely that Peterson will be on a pitch count against the Jaguars. The Vikings and head coach Leslie Frazier want to limit the amount of physical punishment that the knee takes after he spent the majority of the preseason on the Physically Unable to Perform list and didn’t see any exhibition action.
Expect Peterson to get no more than 10-15 touches today, with backup Toby Gerhart getting a large chunk of the carries for the Vikings’ ground game. Gerhart proved in 2011 and throughout the 2012 preseason that he’s capable of being a feature back in the NFL, and will get the opportunity to strengthen that assertion early this season while Peterson works his way back into the mix.
It seemed impossible that Peterson would be playing in Week 1 after watching his knee bend the way it did back in December. Impossible isn’t in Peterson’s vocabulary, though.