To play or not play AP is Frazier’s dilemma

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 4, 2012 - 8:13 AM

Leslie Frazier's risk-reward decision about using running back Adrian Peterson in Week 1 is unusually complicated.

If the calendar is correct, Sunday will be Sept. 9. Which is the Sunday of Week 1 in the NFL.

And Sept. 9 and Week 1, if memory serves, are the date and the event that have been rolling off Adrian Peterson's tongue just about every day since last January.

As in -- and we're summarizing Peterson's talking points for the past eight months here -- "I will be ready on Sept. 9. I will play in Week 1 against Jacksonville. That's the goal. I will reach that goal. And I won't let anyone stand in my way or tell me it's not possible."

So imagine the anxiety Vikings coach Leslie Frazier must be feeling this week. Sometime on Sunday morning, as the Vikings prepare to host the Jaguars in their 2012 season opener, Frazier will have to announce his final decision on whether Peterson can play.

On Sept. 9, in Week 1.

For Frazier, there will be nothing like starting a pivotal season with this kind of pressure and a call this big.

It's a decision that will either validate Peterson's comeback vows or temporarily deflate his morale.

Late last week, Frazier asserted he wouldn't make his final call until game day, an assertion he stood by Monday.

What Frazier and the Vikings medical team want most is to put Peterson through a demanding week of practice. They want to evaluate how he responds as he continues to absorb some contact.

They want to see how instinctively he's moving and cutting and reacting on the fly. They want to gauge just how in tune he is with the game plan during an intense week of preparation.

Said Frazier: "We need to see him do some things physically within what we're trying to get done against Jacksonville."

And when it comes time Sunday to activate the traffic light -- red, yellow or green -- Frazier said he won't allow concern for Peterson's mood to influence the decision.

"You really have to take the emotion out of it," Frazier said. "You've got to really home in on what's best for him, what's best for our team. Adrian is not just another guy on our team. He is, in so many ways, the face of what we try to do. So we have to be able to see the big picture when it comes to him."

But aren't there fears that asking the star running back to take a seat on Sunday -- on Sept. 9, in Week 1 -- could send him into a funk, especially given how hard he's pushed and persevered and promised to be ready? Aren't there worries that Peterson, as eager and ambitious as he always is, won't be able to see that big picture himself?

"There was a point, maybe I would have worried about that," Frazier said Monday. "But of late, I think he has really bought into some of the things we've been talking to him about from a preparation standpoint and how we want to approach this regular season."

On the one hand, the Vikings have to be ultra-careful with their star running back, taking into account that they aren't at this 2012 starting line stretching for a Super Bowl run.

The rebuilding process, like Peterson's recovery from major knee surgery, has to be approached with the right combination of urgency and patience. And every risk-reward scenario with Peterson points toward holding him back as long as possible, especially with Toby Gerhart more than capable of being an early-season workhorse.

On the other hand, the Vikings will also need to show serious signs of life in their four September games to keep an unsettled fan base from souring like three-week-old milk. Sunday's home date with the Jaguars is as winnable as any of those contests. And having Peterson in the mix, if only for a handful of touches, would send a jolt of energy through the Twin Cities and allow the enthusiastic running back to begin easing back toward a heavy workload.

Remember, this is a season where hope must quickly replace disgruntlement. And the ticking of the clock seems to have gotten louder this week. Now it'll be up to Frazier and the Vikings to make a major call on their offensive star. This one has a definitive deadline: Sept. 9, Week 1.

Dan Wiederer dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • related content

  • To play or not play Adrian Peterson is Frazier’s dilemma

    Tuesday September 4, 2012

    Leslie Frazier's risk-reward decision about using running back Adrian Peterson in Week 1 is unusually complicated.

  • Scoggins: Sherels sticks with Vikings despite size, odds

    Monday September 3, 2012

    A month ago, the former U cornerback seemed unlikely to make the roster. But he's still here, appreciated for his multipurpose value.

  • Video: Frazier talks about the Vikings roster

    Monday September 3, 2012

    Vikings coach Leslie Frazier talks about the team roster and the health of running back Adrian Peterson and tight...

  • Jefferson savors new opportunity with Vikings

    Monday September 3, 2012

    A.J. Jefferson, a third-year cornerback picked up by the Vikings on Friday from Arizona for a conditional 2013 draft pick, started seven games for the Cardinals last season before "it...

  • Adrian Peterson’s goal during rehab from reconstructive knee surgery was to be ready for the regular-season opener against Jacksonville. He says he’s ready, but the Vikings will wait until game day to decide whether he will play.

  • NFL WEEK 1 VIKINGS VS. JACKSONVILLE

    Noon Sunday • Mall of America Field at Metrodome • TV: Ch. 4 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati 0 Top 1st Inning
Baltimore 0
Boston 2 Bottom 1st Inning
NY Yankees 0
Detroit 1 Top 2nd Inning
Cleveland 2
NY Mets 2 Top 2nd Inning
Miami 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Toronto 0 Top 2nd Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
LA Angels - C. Wilson 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Texas - D. Holland 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Vikings win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close