Staff writers Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here is Mark's report from Wednesday:
Peterson will hang back here and work on drills, exercises
MANKATO - The Vikings will travel to San Francisco on Thursday, but running back Adrian Peterson will stay behind in hopes that three more days of focused drills and exercises will convince the team that his rebuilt left knee can withstand at least a handful of snaps in a later preseason game.
"I'm definitely getting better," said Peterson, whose surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament came less than eight months ago. "I look forward to being out here [practicing] pretty soon. It's time to get going."
Coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson is pushing him daily to be taken off the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
"It's never-ending," Frazier said. "But he knows we have a plan and we've talked him through that plan. He's on board. We just have to keep seeing him progress and we'll re-evaluate things when we come back from San Francisco" after Friday's preseason opener.
If Peterson does show that he's ready to play in the preseason, the likely game to target is the Aug. 24 home game against the San Diego Chargers. If that's the case, Peterson probably would be taken off the PUP shortly after the Aug. 17 game against the Buffalo Bills and then practice in full pads that next week.
"I'm ready to get hit," he said. "It might sound insane, but just to get that feel. Around the patellar tendon area, that area kind of stays numb for a good period of time because they cut the nerves and all that. So it kind of feels a little funny in that area. So it will take a couple of shots in that area to see how I feel and get back used to getting hit."
Frazier said again that the Vikings will want Peterson to play a preseason game if it's determined that he'll be playing in Week 1 of the regular season.
"There are no indications to this point that he wouldn't be [ready for the regular season]," Frazier said. "But we still have some more steps to take."
Rookie Smith, Harvin tangle
Star receiver Percy Harvin and rookie Harrison Smith, a hard-hitting safety who quickly has gained the reputation for not taking any guff from anyone, were the key combatants during a shoving episode that came during an 11-on-11 team drill Wednesday. Believe it or not, it was the first scuffle the team has had in 11 days of practice.
Players wore shells rather than full pads, but the tempo still was aggressive because basically players are fed up with practicing against each other.
The incident began when Harvin caught a short pass and turned hard upfield into a crowd of defenders. Safety Eric Frampton tried to strip the ball but was unsuccessful. Another defender swiped at the ball as Harvin kept running. When Smith became the third defender to reach in and tug on the ball, Harvin lost his temper and the two players started pushing and shoving.
Teammates hurried into the fray. Receiver Jerome Simpson shoved Smith. Defensive end Jared Allen and offensive tackle Phil Loadholt were separating players. Meanwhile, safety/team screamer Jamarca Sanford yelled, "Calm down, 1-2. [Harvin's number]" a few times from the defensive sideline.
Smith, a first-round draft pick who's still running primarily with the second team but has seen some action with the first unit, shrugged off the incident after practice.
"It's football," Smith said. "That stuff happens sometimes when you play football."
So much for no hazing
Frazier isn't a fan of player hazing. He has a policy against it. Well, that policy was broken by some of his best players after Wednesday's practice. Don't worry. No one was hurt. But Chase Baker, an undrafted rookie from Boise State, did get a little wet and messy.
Members of the defensive line taped him to a goal post. Allen then dumped ice and a jug of water over his head. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams then dumped Pepto-Bismol over Baker's head.
Baker took it all in with a smile. Frazier didn't seem happy. He was talking to Allen as they walked off the field together. Allen threw an arm around the coach's shoulder and said, "Don't worry. We didn't beat him."
Peterson spoke about Monday's court appearance in Houston. The prosecution asked for more time to review Peterson's July 7 arrest for resisting arrest. Pre-trial dates were set for Sept. 27 and Nov. 15. Peterson said he doesn't have to attend those court dates.
"I feel like we're in a good position right now," Peterson said of his case.