Peter­son to have knee surgery, sea­son in flux

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Dave Camp­bell

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. >> Adrian Peter­son will have surgery on his right knee to re­pair a torn menis­cus, putting his sea­son and per­haps his 10-year run with Min­ne­sota in ques­tion.

The Vik­ings have held off for now on plac­ing the fran­chise’s all-time lead­ing rusher on in­jured re­serve, though, wait­ing for the med­i­cal re­port that will in­flu­ence that de­ci­sion. Peter­son was hurt on Sun­day night dur­ing the vic­tory over Green Bay, need­ing as­sis­tance off the field after his knee was slightly twisted while be­ing tack­led at the end of a 5-yard run.

Peter­son, 16th on the NFL’s all­time rush­ing list, has only 50 yards on 31 at­tempts this sea­son. He told ESPN on Wed­nes­day morn­ing that the type of tear he was di­ag­nosed with typ­i­cally re­quires a min­i­mum re­cov­ery time of three to four months. But Vik­ings coach Mike Zim­mer said the timetable for Peter­son’s re­turn won’t be clear un­til after the pro­ce­dure.

“Every­thing is pos­si­ble,” Zim­mer said. “It could be sea­son end­ing. It could be three weeks, four weeks. I don’t know.”

Peter­son made a swift re­cov­ery from a torn ACL in his left knee suf­fered in the sec­ond-to-last game of the 2011 sea­son. He came back with a flour­ish, in time for the 2012 opener, and won the league MVP award with 2,097 yards rush­ing while lead­ing the Vik­ings to the play­offs.

Peter­son won an­other NFL rush­ing ti­tle last year, but he’s 31 now with a con­tract that might not make fi­nan­cial sense in its cur­rent state for the Vik­ings to carry next year. The sched­uled salary cap hit for 2017 is $18 mil­lion, so even if he were fully healthy this sea­son his sta­tus was bound to reach a cross­road. The Vik­ings could try to bring him back at a re­duced rate with a re­struc­tur­ing, but he might pre­fer to be re­leased and test the mar­ket for the first time in his ca­reer.

That’s a mat­ter for an­other day, though. The Vik­ings (2-0) have a visit to de­fend­ing NFC cham­pion Carolina on Sun­day, with Jer­ick McKin­non set to take Peter­son’s place as the fea­tured run­ning back. Matt Asi­ata has proven to be a ca­pa­ble backup,

“I have a lot of con­fi­dence in those two guys. I think they’re both dif­fer­ent types of run­ners, but I think the com­bi­na­tion of the two can help us,” Zim­mer said.

The Vik­ings also signed Ronnie Hill­man, who had a ca­reer-high 863 yards and seven touch­downs rush­ing last sea­son for Den­ver’s Su­per Bowl­win­ning team.

“I haven’t been here long, but I think we’ve got a great group of run­ning backs,” quar­ter­back Sam Brad­ford said. “I think the guys be­hind him are ea­ger for the op­por­tu­nity.”

Al­ready with­out quar­ter­back Teddy Bridge­wa­ter, who went down with a mas­sive knee in­jury on Aug. 30 dur­ing a rou­tine prac­tice drill, the Vik­ings must also move on with­out their start­ing left tackle Matt Kalil.

Kalil was placed on in­jured re­serve Wed­nes­day with a lin­ger­ing hip prob­lem that he played through in the first two games. He will re­quire


Vik­ings run­ning back Adrian Peter­son (28) is helped off the field after get­ting in­jured dur­ing the sec­ond half against the Green Bay Pack­ers in Min­neapo­lis.

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