Adrian Peterson is “ready to roll” this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
After just three practices on his surgically repaired knee, Peterson said he’ll play Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, his first game action since suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee Week 2, he told Dash Radio during an interview on Friday afternoon. Peterson has a financial stake in the radio station, according to Billboard.
First, the Vikings need to officially activate Peterson, who remains on injured reserve with a designation to return, and make a corresponding roster move before he can play.
“I was able to come to the conclusion, talking to the head coach [Mike Zimmer], my position coach [Kevin Stefanski] and the training staff that I’m going to go,” Peterson said. “Being out there confirmed I’m ready to roll.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Friday that Peterson’s return would depend on “making sure everything’s all right with the doctors.”
The 31-year-old former NFL MVP has made another quick turnaround and plans to play less than three months after Sept. 22 knee surgery. Peterson set a high bar for returning from knee injuries when, in 2012, he came back nine months after tearing his ACL to lead the league with 2,097 rushing yards.
Peterson told Twin Cities reporters earlier this week that he intends to keep wearing the titanium brace on his right knee during practices and games.
“It’s a four-to-six-month injury,” Peterson said, adding he intended to be smart about his return and would take his long-term health into consideration.
But Peterson said Friday the three practices this week were enough for him to feel comfortable. He rejoins a Vikings team that is 7-6 and in desperation mode, likely needing to win the remaining three games against the Colts, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears to have a chance at the playoffs. And Peterson is approaching a crossroads, with the franchise having one very expensive season left under his current contract.
“I knew [this week] was going to be big in determining when I was going to be able to get back on the field,” Peterson said. “Finishing up today, it felt good.
“The worst thing that could’ve happened was waiting a week and watching my team lose, which that’s not what I expect.”
Peterson won’t jump into the Vikings offense as-is. Their league-worst running game, averaging 3.0 yards per carry, has recently lessened in favor of quicker passes from quarterback Sam Bradford — often out of the shotgun formation, where Peterson is not the most patient runner. Plus, he averaged just 1.6 yards per carry on 31 attempts before his injury.
Some adjustments will be made by both the player and system, according to Bradford.
“Obviously, it’s a little bit different than the first couple weeks of the season,” Bradford said this week. “But Adrian’s a great player and I’m sure he’ll be able to adjust. But also, probably just finding things that, obviously, he’s comfortable with, runs that he likes that they’ve had success with in the past.”
The language of the offense has changed as well, Peterson said, so he’ll be tested in more than one way upon his return to the field on Sunday.
“I’ve had my head in the playbook,” he said.