Adrian Peterson will maybe, probably, most likely play this weekend. As Jene Bramel told us yesterday, that in itself is a remarkable achievement considering both his significant injuries (torn ACL and MCL, and meniscus damage), and the lateness of his injury, with the blow coming during the Vikings’ final game of the 2011 season. There’s concern over Jamaal Charles, for example, but not nearly as much because he tore only his ACL, and he did it in Week 2, meaning he’s three months ahead of Peterson in his recovery.
Peterson’s playing status for Sunday when the Vikes open their season at home against Jacksonville is the kind of status that’s vague and aggravating. Ahhh, the game-time decision, always fueling both optimism and angst. Unlike, say, Marshawn Lynch and his likely gameday call due to back spasms, your choice to start or not to start Peterson should be easy.
Just stay the hell away.
Peterson spoke vaguely and cryptically, but yet still quite confidently earlier today. While surrounded by a bunch of dudes with notepads and tape recorders, he displayed a supreme ability to say something while mostly saying nothing at all.
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.
So he’s feeling good, and he might play, but it’s not his decision, and it’s entirely up to the coaches and medical staff. Good to know.
Those media men who cover and have covered the Vikings for years have their Peterson radar on high alert. They read every body movement for a possible hint, even noting the cleanliness of his fingernails. So for what it’s worth, while ESPN’s Tom Pelissero noted that Peterson deferred his fate to higher powers, he said that the 27-year-old still sounds like a man who believes he’s playing Sunday.
Which is terrific, but as far as your roster decision is concerned, whether or not Peterson is actually in uniform and on the field Sunday should be irrelevant to you. I know that sounds so very strange, but Pelissero also estimates that if he does play, Peterson will likely only receive 5-10 carries.
Again, it’s encouraging that Peterson is playing at all, and if he looks good even in a limited capacity that will give you all the confidence you need for Week 2 and beyond. But in the here and now, there’s little reason to waste a starting roster spot on a player who’s seeing his first game action since ripping apart two knee ligaments, and he’ll very likely make only a minimal contribution.
If you spent an early round pick on Peterson (likely a third-rounder), I’m assuming/hoping that you strapped the handcuffs to Toby Gerhart. So if there isn’t a better RB3 option on your bench, roll with him. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry on 17 perseason rushing attempts.
But if waiver wire scouring is required, take a flier on Jacquizz Rodgers, the Falcons RB who’s somehow still available in nearly half of Yahoo leagues (52 percent). Rodgers is a classic deep-ish league desperation flex play. He’s behind the aging Michael Turner on Atlanta’s RB depth chart, but he’ll still receive plenty of opportunities in what will become a growing platoon. And when he gets those touches, he’s consistently a threat for a long run with his breakaway speed.