The Minnesota Vikings are hoping for a speedy return on RB Adrian Peterson on the field for the 2012 season. The All-Pro back has been spending his offseason rehabbing from a serious knee injury he suffered at the conclusion of the 2012 season, sustaining a tear of both his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Peterson underwent surgery on New Year’s Eve to repair the damage. He is now pressing for a return on September 9, the Minnesota Vikings home opener.
“What I envision is to be suited up and ready to roll. Anything else? I would be cheating myself,” Peterson told reporters. Peterson has been aggressively rehabbing and has promised through much of the offseason that he would not miss any games for the Vikings. His prediction of being on the field for the season opener might be a bit too optimistic, with the start of the season coming in just 14 weeks.
One former NFL running back which suffered the same injury said he wasn’t the same after his surgery. Former Denver Broncos RB Terrell Davis was a punishing back in the prime of his career when he suffered his knee injury, much the same as Peterson. Speaking to ESPN, Davis said his running style changed after surgery. “Rather than being instinctive, you start to choreograph your moves. As a running back, you just can’t choreograph your moves. You have to work off instincts,” said Davis.
Davis also suggested that he suffered problems with his healthy knee after returning to the field by compensating for his injury. Davis was plagued with a variety of injuries after his return, appearing in just five games in 2000 and after eight games in 2001, he underwent further arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Davis never returned after the 2001 season and a very promising career was cut drastically short.
Through five seasons, the pair of running backs have posted very similar numbers. Davis rushed for 6,634 yards and 58 scores while Peterson has recorded 6,752 yards with 64 touchdowns.
Peterson refuses to ponder the possibility that he might not be ready on September 9. When asked if he isn’t ready to go for the opener, Peterson responded, “I don’t know how to answer that question. And I struggle to even entertain it. That’s because that’s not the way my mind is tuned in.”
For fantasy owners, it is fair to assume that Peterson’s 2012 season will see a little less production than in year’s past. If you are going to draft Peterson, you might also want to grab Toby Gerhart later on in late rounds as an insurance policy in case Peterson isn’t ready to start the season or if he has issues and misses starts during the course of the season.