MANKATO -- Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was taken off the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list in time to participate in this morning's team walkthrough. Here's a closer look at what lies ahead for the player who had surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments just 7 1/2 months ago:
What it means: Coach Leslie Frazier was careful to say what this doesn't mean. "I want to caution you," Frazier said. "I know there are a lot of fans who are very optimistic and excited about seeing him back. But for us, it's just part of the process. It doesn't mean a whole lot other than he's done a great job in his rehab up to this point off to the side with our strength coaches, [head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman and his staff and our medical staff. The next step for him in the process would be to get integrated with his teammates. And that's just what it means. He's done everything he can do on the side. It doesn't mean in the future that he's going to be lining up with our team in the opening game. We don't know that. We have a long time to determine that."
What will he do now: Per rules of the collective bargaining agreement, Peterson can't put full pads on until he's been active for two practices. Peterson will be able to do individual work in practices this afternoon and Monday. Both workouts will be held from 2:45-5 p.m. and are open to the public at Mankato State University. Peterson will be allowed to put full pads on for Tuesday's practice.
Will Peterson be live in practice?: The Vikings rarely tackle ballcarries to the ground. They do, however, have limited number of short-yardage and goal-line plays in which running backs are "live" and are tackled to the ground. Peterson won't participate in any of those at camp. Frazier said the next time Peterson is "live" will come in a game, whether it's preseason or the regular season.
Will he play in the preseason?: Frazier isn't putting a time table on when Peterson will play in a game. "We'll see how he progresses," Frazier said. "Once he's out of his acclimation period, where he can't wear pads, we'll gauge daily where he is. If it looks like that's the next step, then we'd want to do it. We'd want to get him in a game and let him get a little bit of a taste of NFL action in a live situation. We'll see."
What to expect: Considering the timing of today's decision, it appears the Vikings are targeting the third preseason game against the Chargers a week from Friday as Peterson's return to the field. Friday against the Bills would be too soon considering Peterson would have only two padded practices before hitting the field. Plus, the third preseason game is typically the most important one for NFL teams. The starters see their most extended playing time before most if not all of them skip the fourth and final exhibition.
Next update: Peterson will talk to the media after today's practice.
Other news: Frazier confirmed that starting nose tackle Letroy Guion suffered only a strained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his knee and should be out maybe a week. Guion won't play Friday against the Bills, but Frazier is hopeful that he'll return in time to play the third preseason game.