Adrian Peterson said last week he will not return to the Vikings this season if they’re eliminated from the playoffs.
Well, the Vikings (7-6) won Sunday in Jacksonville and now Peterson said he’s targeting a return to practice this week and a potential return to game action Dec. 24 in Green Bay during a Dash Radio interview on Monday.
“I’m actually going to get out there this week, I’ll be back in the building and plan on practicing this week to really get my legs under me and get a good feel on where I’m at,” Peterson said. “So this week is going to be big for me.”
Peterson underwent surgery Sept. 22 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The 31-year-old former NFL MVP spoke with reporters last week for the first time since his surgery and said “for obvious reasons” he’d only want to return if he could help the Vikings make the playoffs.
Peterson has long targeted a late December return from this knee injury.
“My plan and my vision is to be back for the Green Bay game, that’s what I’m envisioning,” Peterson told Dash Radio. “Of course, the perfect scenario is we win out, I’m able to rest up three weeks and be ready for the playoffs, but I’m envisioning I’ll be back out there this week practicing and I’ll go from there.
“I’ve been a pretty good judge of my body and I don’t know if I’ll be ready to roll this week, next week or the week after. I feel like these next couple days, next two weeks for sure will help me determine what I’ll be able to do.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he didn’t know Monday whether or not Peterson would be able to return this Sunday against the Colts.
Peterson would boost the Vikings’ last-placed rushing attack, though he only managed 1.9 yards per carry on 31 attempts this season before his Week 2 injury.
Ten NFL running backs currently have more rushing yards than the Vikings as a team (954). Running back Jerick McKinnon leads with 388 rushing yards.
The Vikings and Peterson are approaching a crossroads as the star’s contract spikes to $18 million next year during his age 32 season. He’s already the highest-paid NFL running back at $12 million this season.
During the radio interview, Peterson also said he could see himself playing for another five years.