Should Adrian Peterson use '12 camp sked?

July, 22, 2013
7/22/13
6:00
PM ET
Via Twitter, @jray5k offered a provocative response to our post about the quick injury returns of Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III: "I'd like Vikes to take same approach with AD this year as last."

As you recall, Peterson was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list last summer and worked out with the Vikings' medical staff for about the first two weeks of training camp. He was activated Aug. 12 from the PUP and began gradually working into individual and team drills.

On Aug. 27, coaches cleared defenders to begin hitting him in team drills, but reiterated he shouldn't be hit below the waist. Peterson didn't play in the preseason, and his Week 1 start against the Jacksonville Jaguars qualified as his first post-surgery football activity.

We all know what happened next. Peterson took 348 regular-season carries, the second-most in his career, and finished with the second-most rushing yards for a single NFL season (2,097). So @jray5k's point is well-taken: If Peterson played so well last season with no preseason and a limited practice schedule, why not follow a similar protocol this summer even though he will enter training camp healthy?

Peterson wouldn't qualify for the PUP list unless he has suffered an injury since spring practices, but there are no NFL rules requiring him to practice even when he passes his physical. The Vikings can limit him or any other active player as much as they want, so long as they're willing to use a camp roster spot to do it.

For what it's worth, Peterson didn't participate in every organized team activity (OTA) this spring but did more than I thought he would after having offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia. Coach Leslie Frazier is a relatively old-school soul and isn't the likeliest NFL coach to change the usual convention for superstar training camp regimens. And we all know Peterson would take every practice snap if it were up to him.

We'll find out soon enough when the Vikings gather in Mankato, Minn., later this week. The guess is Peterson won't deviate dramatically from traditional NFL practice schedules, even if it makes sense on paper. Sitting out the preseason, however, is a more than reasonable compromise. Peterson disproved the thought last season that every NFL player needs a few "live" hits to prepare for the season. In his case, at least, there's no reason to play with fire.

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