GREEN BAY, WIS. - Adrian Peterson's heroics during the first half of the NFL season had been enough to end almost all discussion of the injury history the rookie running back brought with him from Oklahoma.
Peterson, coming off a 296-yard NFL single-game rushing record performance against the San Diego Chargers, injured his right knee in the third quarter of the Vikings' 34-0 loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field. He will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test today.
The Vikings were calling it a sprained knee after the game, and coach Brad Childress said the league's leading rusher lobbied to go back in the game.
"We really don't know anything until we go and take that MRI," said Childress, who refused Peterson's request to continue.
Obviously, there are many members of the organization, from coaches to the marketing department, who are hoping the diagnosis of a sprain is correct.
Peterson was injured on a second-and-10 play from the Packers 37 late in the quarter, after catching a screen pass from quarterback Brooks Bollinger. As Peterson neared the Packers 26-yard line, he cut and Green Bay cornerback Al Harris dived at his knee. Peterson flipped into the air and landed on his helmet.
"It was scary," Peterson said. "I was like, 'I hope I didn't tear [something] or anything like that.' That basically is what was going through my mind. ... I was in pain for a minute there and it slowly went away."
Peterson was down for several minutes as the training staff tended to him but he eventually walked to the sideline. Asked if he felt Harris' hit was clean, Peterson said, "Yeah."
After being examined on the sideline, Peterson did some jogging and didn't go to the locker room. "Really [I was] just trying to run on it and see how it felt," he said. "But it was just in my best interest to stay out."
Peterson, who started for the sixth time this season and for the third game in a row, finished Sunday with a career-low 45 yards rushing on 11 carries with his longest run gaining 12 yards. He also caught three passes for 14 yards and had a fumble that he recovered. That means he rushed for 251 fewer yards than he did the week before.
"That's the National Football League," Peterson said. "I don't expect to go out there and rush for almost 300 yards every week. You have your best game one week and have your worst game the next. ... The team you saw last week is not the team that came here to play today. We just need to find a way to be more consistent."
He said his primary hope was he can be on the field next Sunday against Oakland to help the Vikings find that consistency. "I don't know," he said about possibly missing time. "I'm just going to let [trainer Eric Sugarman] and those guys handle it and see how things go. Right now I'm banking it's a sprained knee."
HOW IT HAPPENED
Star Tribune photographer Jeffrey Thompson caught Adrian Peterson's knee injury frame-by-frame. Peterson was injured during the third quarter and did not return to the game. Going left-to-right:
PICTURE NO. 1
Green Bay's Al Harris leaned in for the tackle.
PICTURES NO. 2, 3 & 4