Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will not play in either of the team's final two preseason games, a decision coach Leslie Frazier confirmed Tuesday.
So now comes the logical next question: Is it a 100 percent certainty that Peterson will be on the field Sept. 9 when the regular season opens against Jacksonville?
"My goal is the same," Peterson said. "I want to be out there for that first game. So we'll see. That's where my mindset is. It hasn't changed at all. I'd be cheating myself if I said it was, uh, 95 percent [probable] or 85 percent. That's not the way I think."
If it were solely up to Peterson, he'd have put himself back in full-contact drills and exhibition games months ago. But the Vikings long ago wrestled such decisions away from their star running back, continuing to take the ultra-safe route.
To date, Peterson has done nothing but impress the coaches and medical staff with his recovery from knee surgery. Still, he returned to practice just last week, and the "Do Not Touch" rule Frazier established for Peterson has yet to be lifted.
Hence, the caution being shown in holding Peterson out of the preseason.
Over the next week and a half, the Vikings want to make certain they can test Peterson's instincts, quickness and comfort level in a controlled environment before exposing him to the high speeds of game action.
"Part of it," Frazier said, "is how he responds when some of the guys put a pad on him. How does he handle that? And when bodies fall down in front of him, how does he handle that? Does he stop and plant like the Adrian of old or does he just come to a standstill where he's [vulnerable] to taking a really serious hit?"
The official decision to hold Peterson out of the remaining two preseason games --Friday vs. the Chargers and Aug. 30 at Houston -- was made Monday and Peterson responded with surprising acceptance.
"For the first time in our conversations, he kind of seemed like he understood," Frazier said. "He even used the word 'patience.' And I was like, 'Wow. Finally. It's clicking.' He's on board, everybody's on board. This is the right thing to do."
Peterson's eagerness to be back in action continues to percolate. And he admitted Tuesday that he's had difficulty trying to slow down.
"I've been preaching to myself," he said. "I've been repeating it and trying to brainwash myself. Patience. Patience. Because the past couple of weeks I really haven't been hearing the things I've wanted to hear. So I've had to be patient."
Frazier said Peterson will be exposed to hitting in practice before he's thrown into game action. But the head coach had no timetable for exactly when that will occur.
Frazier also made a point to assert that holding Peterson back from preseason game action "doesn't guarantee he'll be ready for Jacksonville."
"But what it does," Frazier said, "is it gives us more time to throw more things at him in practice and get him prepared."