Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is dialed in on Week 1.
"What I envision is to be suited up and ready to roll. Full strength," Peterson said. "Anything else? I would be cheating myself."
"Even they recognize Adrian's different," trainer Russ Paine said. "He has a different protoplasm than the rest of the world."
For now, he remains ahead of schedule. His full range of motion has returned. He looks great and feels better. But Paine issues a reminder of the phases Peterson has yet to clear. His left quadriceps still needs strengthening. Then there's the inescapable need to regain proprioception -- getting his knee to reach a state of equilibrium and balance with the rest of his body. That takes time. So while Sugarman supports Peterson's urge to be ready for Week 1, he isn't crazy enough to promise it.
"In reality, he is only going to be back on the field when he is functionally safe to go on the field. Not just because he wants to say, 'Oh, I did it. I'm the greatest.' There's a lot more to it."
Peterson is probably the biggest boom/bust pick heading into 2012 fantasy drafts. He's currently going in the 2nd or 3rd round, and would likely be a steal there if he's a full go for Week 1. Owners need to be sure they also grab Toby Gerhart as insurance. But be warned -- RBs simply don't return to form within a year of an ACL tear. It would be unprecedented if Peterson is the same running back by Week 1.