The subject on the length of the preseason has been a hot topic this week after Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson tore his ACL on Sunday against the Steelers. He’s one of 25 players that have torn their ACLs this offseason with two weeks left in the preseason.
The Vikings have also suffered a significant loss during the preseason when right tackle Phil Loadholt tore his Achilles against the Bucs two weeks ago. The Vikings’ next preseason game is against the Cowboys, who lost cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the season with a torn ACL and MCL on Tuesday according to multiple reports.
The NFL currently has a four-game preseason schedule, with the Vikings and Steelers playing five games due to the Hall of Fame game. Running back Adrian Peterson, who has played in one preseason game over the last four years, thinks the NFL should shorten the preseason to three games to avoid some of these season ending injuries.
“Adding on an extra [preseason] game as well, it’s a lot of wear and tear on the body,” Peterson said. “And then you go into a 16-game season; guys go down and things are guaranteed with their situation, it’s rough. I think it’s something to sit back and think about. It’s not basketball, it’s football. Guys are being chopped below their knees and guys will run and you and collide going 100 miles an hour. It’s a high level for risk and injury that if you look at the numbers it shows that.”
It’s just as important to complete training camp and the preseason without any significant injuries as it is to develop young talent. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said injury does play a factor when determining how snaps certain players receive during the preseason.
“Some of the guys may not need as many reps as the other guys to get game ready,” Zimmer said. “I think you’ll see a little different thing that we do this week probably.”
The tricky side to Peterson’s suggestion to shorten the preseason would be how much it impacts the players battling for a roster spot. Superstars like Peterson have nothing to worry about, but there are plenty that depend on the preseason to either make the team or land on another team based on their preseason film.
Zimmer and the Vikings thought five preseason games would be beneficial in the team’s evaluation before the season.
“I thought it would be good for us this year,” Zimmer said. “There were a lot of factors to why we did it. I thought the Hall of Fame, being on national television for a young team, start out where it’s the first game of the year. I thought all that would be good for a young football team. Next year, I probably wouldn’t do it but each year is different.”
When asked about his opinion on the preseason, Zimmer wasn’t as opinionated as Peterson however.
“I just go with what they tell me to do,” Zimmer said. “I think you probably have to have more work against some other teams if they did shorten it. I don’t know. I’m just a solider. I do what they tell me.”