If only a shot at the No. 1 pick was the only thing the Minnesota Vikings lost on Saturday.
A resilient 33-26 road win against the Washington Redskins paled against the grim reality the Vikings' best player might not be ready when the 2012 season begins - and there's at least a chance he won't be quite the same ever again.
An MRI confirmed All-Pro halfback Adrian Peterson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament when his left knee caved sideways on a direct hit from Redskins safety DeJon Gomes early in the third quarter.
Surgery to replace the ACL probably won't occur for at least a couple of weeks while Peterson regains his range of motion and the MCL heals. (Peterson's posterior cruciate ligament was not damaged. The lateral collateral ligament also is believed to be OK. The meniscus will be evaluated in the operating room and might need repair as well.)
An optimistic timetable would have Peterson returning to action no sooner than September. And recent research suggests even an athlete of Peterson's caliber may struggle to return to his previous performance level, especially one who relies so heavily on lower-body explosion.
By no means is Peterson's career over at age 26. He has proven to be a fast healer and is so competitive he may try to defy the minimum eight- to nine-month recovery timetable many NFL teams endorse.
Peterson's injury came at a terrible time for fantasy owners. For those looking ahead to 2012, drafts are going to look a lot different if Peterson isn't in the top five as he normally is. Toby Gerhart will be Minnesota's lead back in week 17.