Evidently Brett Favre and Ray Edwards won't be the only Vikings veterans missing from the mandatory minicamp this weekend at Winter Park.
Running back Adrian Peterson, who has spent the offseason training in Houston while his teammates went through the optional Organized Team Activities, is expected to be absent from Saturday's two minicamp practices. That's because he will be attending the fourth annual Adrian Peterson Day in Palestine, Texas. There are indications that Peterson could miss the entire minicamp, not just Saturday's two practices.
Peterson is from the city and each year a parade is thrown in his honor that includes a celebration at the Texas State Railroad. Carol Pegues, who is Peterson's aunt and also organizes the event, confirmed that Peterson will be in Texas on Saturday for a parade that drew 2,000 people last year and is expected to be bigger this year.
Pegues said Peterson's day was scheduled as soon as the Vikings season finished. It is not known if Peterson will miss Friday or Sunday's single sessions and a team spokesman said the Vikings do not release a list of players they expect to attend. Players can be fined for missing minicamp but in this case Peterson certainly had to have cleared his absence with the team.
Even if Peterson just misses Saturday, it will raise some eyebrows given that many Vikings fans are wondering how Peterson is working to correct the issues he has had with fumbles. Peterson was charged with two fumbles (he did not lose either) in the Vikings' loss to New Orleans in the NFC title game and could have been charged with a third. His seven fumbles in the regular season in 2009 were the most among non-quarterbacks and he led the NFL with nine fumbles in 2008. He has lost 10 of those fumbles, including six last year.
The NFL Network had footage of Peterson taking part in drills on Monday at Winter Park for the first time this offseason, although the two OTAs for this week were called off. Peterson and other running backs were shown carrying a 14-pound football filled with sand. The design is to help the running backs get a better feel for the ball and help reduce fumbles.
The unknown factor in all of this is how much on-the-field work Peterson might have actually done in the minicamp. The Vikings have given him a light workload before and it's possible that the team will be all right with having Peterson do the classroom portion of his work this week and then leaving.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said just after the season ended that the team planned to do a study of Peterson's issues with hanging onto the football. It's unclear where the team is at with the study.
Asked this month about Peterson's absence from Winter Park, Childress said: "I talked to Adrian on a number of different occasions. I'm pretty sure what he's doing down in Houston, he's not on a lark down there. He'll be right where he needs to be when we see him next. Would I like to see him a month ago? Absolutely. You know how I'm wired."
Peterson led the NFL in rushing in 2008 with 1,760 yards and finished with 1,383 yards last season to finish sixth in the league.
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