Adrian Peterson's hopes of seeing at least some action in a preseason game have been dashed. The Vikings have decided to take the safe route with their star running back, opting to hold him out of their final two preseason contests.
The Vikings' next game comes Friday at Mall of America Field against San Diego. They'll close the preseason Aug. 30 at Houston.
According to an NFL source, Peterson will not see work in either of those games. But his big-picture goal of being on the field for the regular-season opener Sept. 9 against Jacksonville remains very realistic.
Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last Christmas Eve and had surgery six days later. He has attacked his rehabilitation with an unrelenting work ethic and a positive attitude and has said since January that he was set on being back in action when the 2012 regular season begins.
Peterson was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 12 and has gone through four practices in full pads. But Peterson has had a limited workload and hasn't been exposed to contact yet. Last week, he had expressed his wishes of playing in the preseason.
"I wouldn't mind getting in for a couple of series just to test it out and see how I do," Peterson said after his first padded practice last Tuesday. "Personally, to be honest with you, I feel like I'm fine and I'll be good to go no matter what. But it would be good to get some game action."
As recently as Monday afternoon, coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings were going day-to-day in monitoring Peterson's progress and still were undecided on his availability for the Chargers game.
"We gave him more reps," Frazier said. "And we'll see how he feels tomorrow. We threw a lot of things at him today and we'll see what he says tomorrow, how he feels."
But now the decision has been made and Peterson will be held out.
Feet-first or head-first?
If you're among those pleading with Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder via Twitter to slide feet-first to avoid injury, relax. Ponder and Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave believe the safest way for Ponder to hit the deck under pressure is head-first.
Musgrave said it's typically a personal preference for quarterbacks when it comes to sliding either feet-first or head-first. Ponder prefers to slide head-first, and Musgrave has solidified that decision.
"Coach Musgrave made this [film] cut-up about sliding head-first versus sliding feet-first, and we've never seen someone get hurt sliding head-first," Ponder said. "So it's on purpose. When you slide feet-first, you're exposing your body to get hit, and like we saw at Washington and me last year, I got pretty jacked up that game. People are tweeting at me like, 'Dude, slide feet-first, what are you doing?' But it's a planned deal."
Musgrave said there's no right answer, except to get down ASAP when the big fellas and their helmets start getting closer.
"I know Drew Brees and John Elway were big head-first guys," Musgrave said. "Other guys are feet-first. Aaron Rodgers does both. What's really important when a quarterback runs is getting down in time, in a timely manner, when those defenders converge."
Ponder's sliding technique came into question in Friday night's preseason game when he slid head-first for a first down on third-and-2 from the Bills 4-yard line. Musgrave praised Ponder for his slide and awareness of the down and distance.
Defensive end Everson Griffen missed Monday's practice because of a stomach virus. He's expected back Tuesday.
Injury update: Tight end Kyle Rudolph (concussion) and nose tackle Letroy Guion (knee) returned to practice. Cornerback Chris Cook (concussion) and linebacker Solomon Elimimian (hamstring) still are out. Frazier ruled tight end John Carlson (knee) out of Friday night's preseason game.