“There are no setbacks,” coach Leslie Frazier told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “We just feel like more time with him in practice with some of the things we’re doing and the progression of getting him ready for the season, it’s the right thing to do.”
Peterson suffered a devastating knee injury in Washington on Dec. 24, requiring corrective surgery to replace his anterior cruciate ligament and repair his medial collateral ligament. Many questioned whether the All-Pro running back would ever play football again, let alone return by the start of the 2012 season.
Peterson’s recovery from what could have easily been a career-ending injury has been nothing short of stunning. He vowed from the outset of his recovery to be back in time for the 2012 season opener.
Leslie has remained cautious, however, about the Vikings’ franchise player, but had initially expressed a desire to have him experience some full-contact before the regular season began against Jacksonville on Sept. 9.
He’s since had a change of heart.
Ever the competitor, Peterson has understandably lobbied hard to be cleared to play, but sounded satisfied with the decision. His father has cautioned him about the importance of listening to his coaches and trainers as his recovery nears completion.
The four-time Pro Bowler ran the ball 18 times in the full team portion of Monday’s practice, but the defense is still prohibited from touching him. Frazier anticipated the lifting of that no-contact rule sometime in the near future as to better his gauge his running back’s ability to suddenly shift direction and elude would-be tacklers.
Peterson averaged better than 1,400 yards rushing per year over his first four NFL seasons and owns the league mark for the most yards in a single game (296). Injuries limited him to just 12 games in 2011, marking the only time in Peterson’s career that he’s failed to record a 1,000-yard season.