Will Adrian Peterson be back on the field Sunday when the 2-10 Vikings play in Detroit? Should he be? Depends on who you ask.
Peterson joined Dan Barreiro and special guest Chuck Foreman on Tuesday evening at the Mall of America for a fascinating meeting of the minds that was broadcast on KFAN. The full interview, available here, had two Viking greats -- past and present -- discussing the art of running the football. But when it came to Peterson's injury status, let's just say that Foreman and Peterson don't see eye to eye on how to handle things.
Asked if he would play Sunday, Peterson acknowledged his eagerness to get back into action as soon as possible even with the high ankle sprain he suffered Nov. 20 against the Raiders.
"God willing I’ll be out there [Sunday]," he said. "I’m like 70 percent."
Which was an immediate red flag for Foreman.
"I know you want to play," Foreman said. "But don’t you think you should wait until you’re 100 percent? ... As much as I want to see you play and I love watching you play, I don’t want to see you back until you’re 100 percent. That’s me. Because I think you’ve got a lot ahead of you and there’s no need."
With the Vikings at 2-10 and sputtering to the finish line of a frustrating season, there is little to gain from Peterson coming back quickly and so much at risk. It's not as if the Pro Bowl star needs to prove his toughness. But Peterson also has a passion for football and a competitive switch that's hard to flip off. So he tried to explain his line of thinking on wanting to get back this week.
"To be honest with you, it’s been my decision," he said. "And I’ve played, I’ve been out there on the field before at 80 percent and did pretty good. But ultimately what it’s going to come down to is I’m going to have the opportunity to test it out and run on it and try to cut. And each week I’ve been making improvements. This past Saturday I stepped out and from Friday -- the day before I ran on it -- to Saturday it was like a tremendous difference as far as my top-end speed and making cuts. So I kind of figured then [this] Friday, a week after, of resting it up and doing the things I’m doing to rehab it, I’ll be feeling pretty good."
Foreman suggested Toby Gerhart get another week or two to "earn his check" and reminded Peterson of the value of his ankles and knees when it comes to sticking around and playing at a high level for years to come.
Said Foreman: "If I was his coach, he’d be mad at me. Because he’d probably be wanting to get in and I’d say, ‘Hey look, go sit down. You’re not getting in.' We’ve got plenty of Adrian Peterson left here. And they’ll be back, The Vikings will be."
Peterson's self-diagnosis that he is 70 percent healthy should be a warning sign to the Vikings coaching stafff.
"In my opinion, 70 percent? I don’t want to see you at 70 percent," Foreman said. "I want to see you at 100. That’s your thing though."
Responded Peterson: "With that being said, I’m going to make sure that I’m good. I’m going to make sure that I’m OK and I feel like I’m able to perform. ... The main thing is just the passion I have for the game. Even being 2-10, I just want to get back out there and help my guys win some games."