Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Adrian Peterson has no doubts he's ready but trusts coaching staff's decisions

Posted by: under Vikings, Adrian Peterson Updated: September 6, 2012 - 4:00 PM

Will Adrian Peterson play on Sunday? Will Adrian Peterson play on Sunday? Will Adrian Peterson play on Sunday?

Yep, the most popular question in the Twin Cities right now won’t have an official answer until Sunday morning. And the fact that we keep asking and writing about Peterson’s status has at least one Star Tribune columnist a bit agitated.

But this morning, during the team’s open locker room, Peterson spoke with reporters for the final time before Sunday’s contest. Here are the highlights of what Peterson had to say about the game against Jacksonville.

Adrian, are you playing Sunday?

That will be a pre-game decision. So we’ll just wait until that time comes.

Do you feel like you’re ready at this point to go?

I feel good. I’ve been working hard since the injury to get back to this moment. So me and the coaching staff, we’re on the same page. So when I come out [Sunday], hopefully I get the nod to go?

Have there been any moments since you’ve come back and have been back in pads and practicing where you’ve had any sorts of doubts about whether or not you’d be ready for this game?

I haven’t had any doubts. That’s not the way I’m programmed. It’s not the way you accomplish things – to have doubts. That comes from people around you. That is what it is. It comes with it. I feel I’m a positive guy, keeping my eyes focused on what I said I want to do.

When you’re in close quarters, running between the tackles, how have you felt about your ability to adjust quickly when you see things happening?

I’ve felt pretty good. But it’s different when you’ve got a guy coming in who’s going to be tackling you and is shooting at your legs. So that’s a different animal. But I’ve been handling it pretty well so far, what I’ve been able to be a part of.

Are you getting to the point now where you just want to get that first hit out of the way, just get in a game and see what happens and get over that hurdle?

Yeah. A little bit.

How tough has it been having the medical staff and the coaching staff kind of muzzle you and hold you back?

It’s been tough. But ultimately I look at it and I know that these guys are doing what’s best for me. Because I know how I am. I can try to get ahead of myself at times. So they’ve done a good job of being patient with me, working with me.

September 9 has been the day you’ve been talking about basically since New Year’s Day. Now that it’s coming, will it be tough if they tell you that you’re not going to play? Would that be a hard pill to swallow?

Yes, it will be a hard pill to swallow. So hopefully that’s not the case.

You said you’re on the same page with the coaching staff. What is that page? What is the big picture perspective as this decision comes?

Just continuing to do what I can do as far as preparation and getting myself ready for the game. And when I come out, they’ll want to see how I look and make the decision based off that. It’s pretty simple.

At this point, do you trust that whatever decision they make will be the right decision?

Um, I do. I trust them enough. I have enough trust in Coach Frazier that I can feel comfortable saying that.

But depending on how that goes, that doesn’t mean you’re going to like the decision necessarily though, right?

Not necessarily. Sometimes you might not agree. But ultimately when you know someone, when you know their intention and you know their heart and you know they’re doing what’s best for you.

How tough has this been on you?

It’s been a long journey for me, ya know. It’s be tough. But I’ve fought through tougher situations than this in my life. So this is just another test that I’ve been working at and studying hard to ace.

Has your knee been an issue the next morning after any of these practices? Have you had any abnormal soreness or anything like that?

None at all. The only thing I’ve experienced is maybe some tightness in the patella tendon. But we stretch that and it gets back feeling good. But no type of pain or discomfort in any way.

Have you had, at any point in a drill or in a practice, a move you’ve had to make or a cut you’ve had to make, that maybe you instinctively did and maybe after the fact, you went, ‘Hmm, I wonder how this is going to hold up’? Have you had any moments like that?

I haven’t, to be honest with you. Since I’ve been back in action and practicing with the guys, I haven’t had that moment at all.

Is that something, when you finally get back to play, where you think there will be a moment like that? When you’re playing in a game at full speed, there’s going to be a moment where you’re going to have to cut or react to something and there might be the thought of ‘How’s this going to react?’

Like I said this offseason, man, I’ve been doing so much. And there’s nothing like being out there and being in a game. But I’ve been doing it to the fullest as far as different cuts and things like that, cutting with all my power, all my force and really putting wear and tear on this leg to get it back right. So I don’t think I will be caught by surprise with anything.

Do you have a gut feeling on what the game-time decision will be?

Do I have a gut feeling? Somewhat. But you know, I’m just … I’m below. I’ve got Coach Frazier then I’ve got the owner. There’s a lot of people that are really calling the shots. So the only thing I can do is control my part. And I’ve been doing that this week, will continue to do that today and before the game I’m going to go out there and see what I can do and hopefully I get the nod. I want to play obviously.

What’s the plan? Is there some sort of exam, a stress test or are they going to go on gut feeling? Is there some schedule for this week on when they want to do something or talk to you about something to figure out whether you’re good to go or not?

Not really. Sunday morning when I come out, those guys will make their decision. But like today, we just came from walkthrough and Coach Frazier came up to me and was like, ‘How are you feeling? How did it feel after yesterday’s practice?’ Things like that. To get insight to base their decision. Little things like that. It’s not like we’re having a meeting every day about it. But it’s little things he’s asking to get insight. I’m sure that’s going to help him make his decision.

Maurice Jones-Drew said Wednesday you are friends. How strange is it that we have Vikings-Jaguars and both of you guys might be limited?

It is what it is. Totally different situations, unfortunately. But I hope to see him out there, man. He’s a good friend of mine. And I love his game, love watching him play. To me, he’s one of the better backs in the league. So hopefully we both get some time.

All the talk in the NFL is about passing offenses these days, though. So is this a missed chance to showcase two running backs like you two guys?

Look at Jones-Drew. He was their whole offense last year. Without him, the Jaguars would have been terrible, just to be honest. So I feel like once he gets back into the rhythm of things, he’s going to get his load. And if God’s willing, I’ll get mine.

You’ve always been a 20-25 carry per game guy. Would it be as frustrating for you to play on a limited basis than it would be to not play at all?

Not really. I’m ready to play. If that’s 10 snaps or five or 25 or 30, I’m ready to roll. That’s my mindset and how I feel about it. So I’m going to keep my mindset pointed in that direction .

Which part scares you the most Adrian, making a sharp cut or is it taking a hit to the knee?

Neither. Nothing.

So if nothing scares you, what’s the holdup?

What’s the holdup? Well, the guys who know me know that nothing really scares me. That’s why during the process they had to hold me back and explain to me about being patient and letting things come with time. It’s just my mindset. A lot of people don’t agree with it. But it’s just the way I am.

Isn’t some of this setting an example for the whole team that it’s all about hard work and getting back and you’re going to do everything you can to play?

I guess you could say that. But more so it’s about faith and just believing and knowing that there’s nothing you can’t accomplish if you have faith and you work at it. You speak out of your mouth what you want to accomplish. You put God first and have faith that he’ll come through for you.

Has this process tested your faith?

Oh yeah, without a doubt. It was tested early. But once I locked in on what I wanted to accomplish, hey it was a roller coaster. I’m not perfect. So I had my days where I’d sit there and was like, ‘Man, it was tough.’ But during that process I was able to sit back and look back at the previous months and days where I was sore or just didn’t feel like I wanted to and I was able to see the progress I’d made. So that’s what tested the faith. But I continued to lean on God and have my own understanding. And it has worked out for me.

 

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