Injuries

Report: Adrian Peterson to Undergo Surgery, Miss Multiple Games

Less than a month after losing Teddy Bridgewater for the season, the Minnesota Vikings were dealt another staggering blow to their backfield. According to reports from ESPN’s Josina Anderson, running back Adrian Peterson will undergo surgery this Thursday to repair his torn meniscus.

Peterson suffered the injury in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers, though a timetable wasn’t set for his return. Anderson, who broke the news on Twitter, reports Peterson’s “bucket handle tear” requires a minimum of three months and maximum of six months recovery time. If that’s indeed the case, Peterson may have played his last snap for the Vikings in 2016 and beyond.

If the Vikings continue their winning ways, there’s a chance Peterson is back in time for the playoffs. That’s the hope, per USA Today’s Tom Pelissero, but there’s also the issue of Peterson’s contract moving forward.

Next season, Peterson’s salary cap hit rises to $18 million. He’s also due a $6 million roster bonus, putting the Vikings at the center of a difficult decision in early March. Keep Peterson, and there’s less money to spend on the team’s up-and-coming stars. Cut him, and the Vikings suddenly find themselves without, arguably, the greatest player in franchise history.

Given general manager Rick Spielman’s recent draft hauls, keeping Peterson through 2017 seems the least likely scenario. He’s a 31-year-old running back who will carry the team’s highest salary cap hit next season. With Jerick McKinnon waiting in the wings and a supremely talented crop of backs declaring for the NFL Draft, Spielman has options outside of eating Peterson’s expensive contract.

The loss of Peterson, though, puts even more pressure on Sam Bradford to lead the Vikings this season. He obliterated expectations on Sunday, but that was one outing in a 16-game season. There’s plenty of football left to play, and the Vikings find themselves in an uncomfortable, unfamiliar situation.

Defenses will surely adjust to a Peterson-less Vikings offense, forcing Bradford to throw Minnesota through more games than originally anticipated. And with McKinnon or Asiata in the backfield, offensive coordinator Norv Turner will likely add more shotgun looks to his game plans.

This isn’t the 2016 season the Vikings expected, but it’s the one they’re built to survive. Mike Zimmer is still the head coach, his defense is quickly ascending into the league’s upper echelon, and the team is still 2-0.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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4 Comments

  1. “arguably, the greatest player in franchise history.” Short argument. Tarkenton and Page are the two greatest players in Vikings history, although I will freely admit that Peterson’s 2012 might well be the single greatest season for a Vikings’ player ever.

    I’m a confirmed fan of Peterson and a stout running game, even in today’s pass-happy NFL, but there’s no way we can keep him in 2017 without a drastically renegotiated contract.

    I was hoping Toby Gerhart would get a try-out – yes, I am a rank sentimentalist – but Hillman is a nice pick-up.

  2. Receivers need to step up! Diggs has been awesome and Thielen has made some nice plays,but Johnson has been Mr Anonymous and Patterson has hardly been seen.
    Time to sit Johnson and give Wright an opportunity,he may not be the greatest WR ever,but he runs his routes well,gets separation and makes the plays he has to.

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