Peterson Activated; Should He Play In Preseason?

As you have probably heard by now, Adrian Peterson was activated from the PUP list and participated in practice on Sunday. What’s that? You heard it, but didn’t believe it because there is no way someone could come back that quickly from such a devastating injury? You need to see it to believe it?

Well, there you go. That, ladies and gentleman, is Adrian Peterson, the guy who pretty much had his knee destroyed last December, participating in Vikings practice.

Now there is even talk about Peterson being able to get some snaps in when the Vikings host the Chargers at Mall of America Field for the third preseason game.

In a press conference, Leslie Frazier attempted to temper the excitement of fans saying, “I want to caution you, I know there are a lot of fans that are very optimistic and excited about seeing him back but for us it’s just a part of the process.” Nevertheless, there seems to be something real in the air that suggests Minnesota’s pride and joy, AP, could be back for game one against Jacksonville.

And I have to be honest with you – I’m torn about it.

First, let’s start with the preseason thing. Should Peterson even get close to seeing playing time during a pointless exhibition game? On one hand, if AP really is going to be starting for the Vikings early in the season, it might be good for him to get hit a couple of times and build up his confidence. It’s been seven and a half months since Peterson has had any real contact. Who knows how him and his injury will respond. On the other hand (and this is a Shaquille O’Neal sized hand), if Adrian Peterson somehow re-injured his knee during a preseason game, there would be a riot amongst Vikings fans.

Beyond preseason, there is a legitimate question of whether or not Peterson should even play in the first few games. We have a very capable backup in Toby Gerhart who has shown he can do perfectly fine carrying the teams’ rushing load on his [steamrolling] shoulders. Our schedule is favorable the first couple of games and having the best running back in the NFL may not be as imperative for those primary match-ups.

One reader on our site even went further; asking the question of whether or not AP should be the starting running back at all this season. Instead, Gerhart could be the workhouse running back on most downs while Peterson occasionally surprises defenders on third downs with his “explosiveness.” Now, obviously, this is not going to happen… But it is a fair question.

There are lots of questions regarding how Adrian Peterson makes his inevitable return to the field. There are even more opinions. So this is where I ask you all, what is the best way to ease AP back into action? Should he play in the preseason? How much of a role should he have? Is the coaching staff responsible if Peterson does come back early in the year only to injure is knee again?

Vote in the poll below regarding preseason playing time and discuss in the comments. Interested to see what some of you guys think.