Mandatory minicamps are winding down and training camp is just about a month away. Across the National Football League, storylines are continuing to develop that could have a huge impact on the upcoming season.
From Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's rehab from injury to Drew Brees' ongoing contract impasse, here's an updated look at some of the latest news as the NFL moves into the final calm spell before the storm of 2012 blows into cities across America.
Much of the offseason has been filled with positive news regarding Adrian Peterson's recovery from the serious knee injury he suffered last December. The latest reports would only seem to add fuel to the fire that the sixth-year veteran will be on the field when the Minnesota Vikings open the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Peterson has been working tirelessly to get himself ready to return to the field on September 9. He has spent six or more hours a day preparing for the upcoming season.
The possibility remains that Peterson could open training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but the 27-year-old told Rapoport that he fully expects to be ready to go when the games begin to count.
"I feel like it's realistic," said Peterson, who has averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry during every one of his NFL seasons, with at least 10 touchdowns. "As of now, I feel like I'm heading in the right direction to meet that."
Things aren't nearly as rosy for the Vikings at the wide receiver position.
A day after Percy Harvin told the Associated Press (via The Washington Post) that he "hasn’t been really happy lately," without going into specifics about what he was unhappy about, ESPN reported on Wednesday that the wideout has requested a trade.
The first and most obvious theory that most are leaping to is that the fourth-year pro, who gained over 1,300 total yards last year, is unhappy with a contract that will pay him $915,000 in 2012.
However, details are still sketchy regarding this surprising development in the Twin Cities.
One thing that is for sure is that with Adrian Peterson making his way back to health and Minnesota thin at wide receiver, the Vikings can't afford to lose their most explosive option at the position.
Head coach Leslie Frazier told ESPN that he remains hopeful that a sitdown with Harvin will clear the proverbial air: "I really feel like when he and I sit down and talk in depth. Whatever is in his heart or on his mind, we'll get through it."
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy enjoyed a fantastic third season in the NFL in 2011, gaining over 1,600 total yards and scoring an eye-popping 20 touchdowns.
It now appears that head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Morningwheg are looking for new ways to get their star tailback the ball in space.
Ray Didinger of CSN Philadelphia recently reported that the team has been lining up McCoy in a quasi-flanker role in minicamps to take advantage of his excellent receiving skills.
However, any increase in McCoy's workload would carry with it a fair amount of risk. McCoy's 321 touches last year ranked fourth in the NFL, and if the Eagles work the former Pitt standout too much, McCoy could find himself falling victim to the dreaded "curse of 370." This has resulted in lackluster campaigns for a number of ballcarriers the year after receiving a heavy workload.
Of course, if running McCoy into the ground in 2012 nets Reid a Super Bowl ring, I seriously doubt he would care. Anything short of a deep playoff run this season will likely cost Reid his job.
With a little over three weeks remaining until the deadline for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to sign his franchise tender, the Pro Bowler and the team remain in negotiations regarding a long-term extension.
The latest development is that a new offer was submitted to the 33-year-old by the Saints some two weeks ago, according to the Associated Press (via The Huffington Post).
However, this latest news regarding Brees has nothing to do with his contract standoff.
In response to the NFL's alleged lack of evidence against current and former teammates embroiled in the "bountygate" scandal that has engulfed the Saints this offseason, Brees made what can only be described as an incredibly ill-advised tweet.
If NFL fans were told there were "weapons of mass destruction" enough times, they'd believe it. But what happens when you don't find any????— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) June 19, 2012
Brees later backtracked, according to an ESPN report. He said: "I have an extreme respect for our military and have not nor will I ever compare football to war. They are the soldiers, they risk their lives, they defend our freedom and make this world a safer place."
The moral of this story is, of course, that Twitter is the greatest thing to happen to sportswriters since alcohol.
The Buffalo Bills made a number of aggressive moves this offseason in an effort to become contenders in the AFC East in 2012, and the team recently received some encouraging news about one of their top offensive playmakers.
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who paced the Bills with his second consecutive 1,000 yard receiving season in 2011, told The Buffalo News that he's "90 percent" recovered from the surgery he underwent in May to repair a groin injury.
After practicing on a limited basis in the Bills minicamp, the fifth-year veteran expects to be full-go for training camp in July.
Definitely, today was a big step. Still a lot of work to do. Mentally I feel [OK], everything else I think I am pretty good. My groin felt good. I still have to get over the mental aspect of it. That is why I wanted to come out for this minicamp. I can get acquainted to running routes and try to get over the mental aspect of being out there, cutting on my left leg and trying to trust it.