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Frazier: Peterson on the road to recovery

Senior Fantasy Writer
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PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting that injured running back Adrian Peterson is expected to begin running this week after several months of rehab for torn ligaments in his left knee. Peterson has spent the week with Vikings trainers and is making progress with his recovery.

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"We'll get a better gauge of where he is once he starts running," Frazier said. "But everything he's done up to this point has been very good, so we're hoping once he starts running he'll stay on course as well."

Naturally, if Peterson is making progress then the question becomes when he'll be ready to contribute to the Vikings. The All-Pro has totaled at least 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his five NFL seasons, including his short-circuited 2011 where he hurt his knee at the Redskins on Christmas Eve. Typically the recovery time for a torn anterior cruciate ligament is nine-to-12 months, but Peterson hurt several ligaments, so there could be more to his recovery.

Regardless, Frazier is cautiously optimistic that Peterson will be available for Week 1.

"Ideally, we'd love to have him back opening day," he said. "That's what we're aiming for, that's what he wants to see happen, that's what we'd all love to see happen. But at the same time we'll have to be smart and just see where he is. But this is the beginning stages of running so we'll have a better gauge in one or two weeks as to what kind of progress he's going to make."

The ground game is a huge part of the Vikings offense, especially with raw second-year quarterback Christian Ponder set to begin the year as the starter. The team found Toby Gerhart to be a good backup to Peterson last season as he totaled 292 rush yards, 83 receiving yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the four games he started. But Frazier said he expects to add "another body."

"We'll probably have to either bring in a veteran guy or draft someone to help us with Toby," Frazier said. "We want to have a third guy on our roster for sure. Whether he's a guy that's only used in third-down situations or has the capability of being used in first- and second-down situations. We'd love to have a guy with the ability to catch the ball but can run the ball on first- and second-down as well and is good in protection."

Frazier almost sounds like he wants a guy just in case Peterson isn't ready. Being prepared is important, but the Vikings' chances for success in 2012 will dwindle if Peterson isn't producing like the Vikings have come to expect from him, much less not playing. More importantly to the franchise, however, might be making sure he gets back to that pre-injury form eventually, not just for Week 1. That might be the basis for the Vikings to take it slow with Peterson and ease him back onto the field. The longer they take in getting him ready, the longer we can expect to see Peterson at his best.

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