Vikings: Peterson could play in 2012 opener 27 Dec 11

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Eric Sugarman, the team’s head athletic trainer, said Monday that it’s realistic to expect Adrian Peterson to be back from a severe knee injury by the start of the 2012 regular season.

“Adrian and I talked on Christmas day,” Frazier said. “I told him he’ll be the guy that people will look at and say, Wow, look at Adrian Peterson. He’s just as good or better than he was before the surgery.’”

Peterson was injured on the first play of the second half of Saturday’s 33-26 win at Washington. Safety DeJon Gomes collapsed Peterson’s left knee with a direct shot to the knee.

Sugarman revealed the extent of the damage to Peterson’s knee, saying Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and did some damage to the medial and lateral meniscus. The posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments were not injured, and neither was the cartilage in the knee.

Peterson will have surgery in a week to 10 days. The Vikings are hoping to have him rehab the knee in Minnesota. The regular season begins about eight months after Peterson will have his surgery.

“We expect most people to recover from this injury in eight to nine months,” Sugarman said. “But instead of comparing Adrian to any other player at any level that’s had an anterior cruciate ligament, and they happen every day, I would really like Adrian to stand on his own merit because Adrian, I feel, is very unique. If there’s anyone that’s going to be able to recover from this injury, it’s Adrian Peterson.

“You may ask why? It’s because Adrian has a great work ethic. Adrian has the DNA to heal quickly, which he has shown in the past. He certainly will have the desire and the mental toughness to be able to get through the rehab process which will take months and months, as you know. So, I think if anyone can get better quickly and safely in that time period, it would be Adrian Peterson.”

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NFL Team Report – Minnesota Vikings – NOTES, QUOTES

–It was the streaking statistic that was updated weekly and used by local reporters to bash coach Leslie Frazier over the head with. To Frazier’s delight, the streak is over. The Vikings finally intercepted a pass.

After going nine games without an interception – a record since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger – safety Mistral Raymond actually caught a horrendously overthrown ball thrown by Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman in the Vikings’ 33-26 win on Saturday.

“It felt so good,” Frazier said. “I told the coaches on the headset, Hey, thank you. I don’t have to deal with the interception questions going forward.’”

From Jamarca Sanford’s interception in the closing minute of the Week 5 win over the Cardinals to Raymond’s pick on Saturday, the Vikings went 593 minutes, 37 seconds of game clock without an interception. Opposing quarterbacks completed 209 of 296 passes (70.1 percent) for 2,640 yards and 27 touchdowns.

–Frazier gave a game ball from Saturday’s win to the team’s former longtime trainer and current historian Fred Zamberletti. Zamberletti, 69, had attended every game in the team’s 51-year history before missing Saturday’s game because of illness. Including preseason, regular season and postseason, Zamberletti’s streak was 1,049 games.

Frazier said Zamberletti told him, “Bring back a win.

“He said it with his voice breaking, and it was really emotional for me,” Frazier added. “I shared that with our players. As you know, Fred is extremely loyal.”

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NFL Team Report – Minnesota Vikings – STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

–LG Steve Hutchinson, who missed Saturday’s game because of a concussion, is day to day. He needs to pass the league-mandated concussion exam. The team might just decide to shut Hutchinson down for the year and go with capable backup Joe Berger.

–CB Asher Allen, who also missed Saturday’s game because of a concussion, has nearly completed the league-mandated protocol to return to the field. He’s expected to practice on Wednesday.

–RB Caleb King was promoted from the practice squad to take Adrian Peterson’s place on the roster. Peterson was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. King, a rookie, is a big back with promise. He went undrafted out ofGeorgia.

–QB Christian Ponder, who left Saturday’s game with a concussion, must pass his league-mandated concussion exam. The team will need to see him practice either Wednesday or Thursday for him to play on Sunday.

–CB Cedric Griffin was praised by coach Leslie Frazier for the way he played against the Redskins. Griffin was benched three weeks ago and then lost his starting job two weeks ago against the Saints. With Asher Allen(concussion) out, Griffin was given a second chance as a starter on Saturday. Griffin has struggled all season trying to return to form after tearing the ACLs in both knees the past two years. He fell out of favor in part because he lacked the confidence to play some of the schemes the Vikings were asking of their corners.

REPORT CARD VS. REDSKINS

PASSING OFFENSE: B – Christian Ponder wasn’t much of a factor, passing for only 68 yards on 8-of-13 passing before leaving the game with a concussion after the third play of the second half. But he didn’t turn the ball over after a three-week stretch in which he had eight turnovers. Joe Webb replaced Ponder and gave the team yet another reason to wonder why he’s not being given a chance to be the quarterback of the future. In five possessions, Webb directed four consecutive scoring drives, including three consecutive touchdowns. He completed 4-of-5 passes for 84 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A – The Vikings ran for 241 yards, and only 38 of them belonged to Adrian Peterson, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on a gruesome hit to his left knee on the first play of the second half. BackupToby Gerhart came through with his first career 100-yard game, rushing for 109 yards on 11 carries, including a team season-long 67-yarder to set up a touchdown. Backup quarterback Joe Webb, an electric runner with size and instincts, ran five times for 34 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown.

PASS DEFENSE: C – After nine games without an interception, the Vikings finally picked off a pass. It took two poorly thrown balls by Rex Grossman to get it done. Safety Jamarca Sanford dropped the first one. Rookie safety Mistral Raymond caught the second one, a horrendously overthrown ball. The Vikings’ injury-depleted secondary still struggled, allowing Grossman to complete 63.4 percent of his 41 throws for 284 yards and two touchdowns.

RUSH DEFENSE: D – The Vikings’ once-proud run defense no longer exists. The Redskins were forced to use rookie Evan Royster when another rookie, Roy Helu, was made inactive. Royster tore through the Vikings’ defense for 132 yards on 19 carries (6.9 average). The Vikings simply don’t control their gaps the way they used to from 2006 to 2009.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D – K Ryan Longwell missed an extra point for only the 10th time in 639 career attempts, including regular season and postseason. He simply shanked it. He also missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt. The punt coverage unit did OK, holding Brandon Banks to a 4.7-yard average on three returns. However, the kick coverage unit struggled again. There weren’t major breakdowns, but Banks did have a 43-yard return.

COACHING: A – It wasn’t a masterpiece, but coach Leslie Frazier and his staff won a game on the road with a team that had only two victories and played nearly the entire second half without its best player (Peterson) and its starting quarterback. It wasn’t the smartest win in franchise history, considering the Vikings were within striking distance of the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. But the consolation is the assurance that the players haven’t quit on Frazier, who has been told by ownership that he’s returning next season.