Adrian Peterson (Brett Davis/US Presswire)
It’s official: Adrian Peterson is listed as questionable for the Vikings’ opener Sunday, but there have been plenty of questions about him this week … with few concrete answers. Plus, what’s the rest of the injury situations for the Vikings and Jaguars and how is the secondary shaping up?
The Minnesota Vikings continue to put off an announcement on Adrian Peterson’s game status for their regular-season opener Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Earlier this week it was going to be a “game-time decision,” according to head coach Leslie Frazier. Then a decision was likely to be made either Friday night or Saturday morning. But early Friday afternoon, the decision – at the public announcement of that decision – had come full circle for the week of inquiries.
“There is no reason to make a decision before Sunday,” Frazier said after Friday’s practice. “We’re going to talk with him again tomorrow and see how he feels and we’ll make a decision.”
Peterson was officially listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.
Peterson began training camp on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on Dec. 24 and had surgery on Dec. 30. He slowly worked his way into a practice routine that started on Aug. 12, but coaches didn’t allow him to start taking contact in practice until Aug. 27.
Since then, it’s been a constant stream of inquiries on whether he would make his target date to return to game action on Sept. 9 or not.
Peterson says he is ready to play, and the best indication that he would play came Thursday from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who said there is “not too much doubt” that Peterson is ready.
Musgrave also said the coaching staff had a set number of plays in mind for Peterson. He had been getting 25 to 35 carries in practices this week, the same as his replacement, Toby Gerhart. But Frazier and Musgrave both said they can’t be influenced to play him more than they plan if he looks explosive in early action Sunday … if he plays.
“That’s part of our responsibility to be able to keep our emotions in check and put his safety first and foremost and allow the process to work its way,” Musgrave said.
The Vikings are required to submit their list of inactive players 90 minutes before Sunday’s game.
“We’ll definitely have an answer on Sunday, one way or another,” Frazier said.
Peterson was the only Viking listed as questionable, but WR Jarius Wright, S Andrew Sendejo and LB Marvin Mitchell are all listed as out with ankle injuries.
CB Marcus Sherels, the only other Viking that missed any practice time this week, is probable. Frazier said he would be the starting punt returner.
Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith, who didn’t participate in Thursday or Friday’s practice because of an abdomen injury, has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Smith is the only starter ruled out by the Jaguars.
Also out are backup DEs Austen Lane (foot) and George Selvie (knee).
Starting right CB Derek Cox (hamstring) is doubtful and reserve CB Mike Harris (hamstring) is listed as questionable.
CB Antoine Winfield returned to practice Friday, as expected, after missing Thursday’s practice for personal reasons, according to head coach Leslie Frazier.
Winfield was back working with the starting defense, which also featured Chris Cook and Josh Robinson taking first-team reps in the nickel defense during the portion of practice open to the media. Brandon Burton is also being considered for duty in the nickel defense.
“The thinking is one of them (Robinson or Burton) may actually be the third guy or we may rotate them,” Frazier said.
Harrison Smith and Mistral Raymond will be the starting safeties.
The Vikings worked out four players after Friday’s practice. Three of them are known: offensive linemen Stanley Daniels and Tony Hills, according to 1500 ESPN, and defensive lineman Brian Price, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Offensive lineman Mark Asper (waivers) and CB A.J. Jefferson (trade), both acquired late last week, “would be tough” to play on Sunday because of their learning curve in the Vikings’ system, Frazier said.
Tight end John Carlson, who missed the entire preseason with a knee injury, isn’t expected to be affected by the injury.
“He had a good week this week with no restrictions, so we don’t see him as a guy who would have to play with any inhibitions,” Frazier said. “We think we can just let him go and call the offense the way we would if he would have gone through all of training camp.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.