Fantasy Implications of the Latest Updates on Adrian Peterson
There may well have been no more talked-about running back in fantasy football circles this offseason than Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, and while the latest news surrounding the sixth-year pro may not be exactly what his fantasy owners want to hear, there's still reason to believe that the people who drank the purple Kool-Aid will have their chance to reap the rewards soon enough.
As Joe Oberle of CBS Sports reports, Peterson cleared yet another hurdle yesterday when he was cleared for full-contact practice, but head coach Leslie Frazier was quick to point out that this development had no bearing on Peterson's potential availability for Sunday's season opener.
"(The decision-making process) will be the same, even if we waited a week from now, three weeks from now, it's hard to simulate a game in practice. It's almost virtually impossible,” said Frazier. "So it won't necessarily be a leap of faith. (The decision) will be based on what our medical staff says, what our coaches see and what Adrian feels as well. We'll try to gather that information and make the right decision."
Frazier already stated earlier in the week that the 27-year-old Peterson, who tore his ACL and MCL last December, would be a game-time decision Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and that even if the four-time Pro Bowl performer did see the field, it would be in a limited fashion.
That jibes with what offensive coordinator Brent Musgrave told Tim Yotter of Scout.com, who said that Peterson would play only a "set amount of plays", although Musgrave was rather optimistic about Peterson seeing the field, stating that there's "not too much doubt. I think he’s stayed on schedule and we’ve seen progress every day.”
For his part, Peterson, who has been fanatical about his rehab and chomping at the bit seemingly since he got out of the hospital, once again proclaimed himself ready to go to The Associated Press via ESPN, although he also conceded the call ultimately isn't his to make.
"I'm below; I got coach (Leslie) Frazier, then I've got the owner, there's a lot of people that's really calling the shots," Peterson said. "So, only thing I can do is control my part. I've been doing that this week, continue to do that today. And before the game, I'm going to go out there and see what I can do and hopefully I will get the nod. I want to play, obviously."
So now that we've heard from all the parties involved, what does all this mean for Peterson's fantasy owners?
Obviously, any hopes of Peterson making a viable fantasy contribution in Week 1 are all but dashed, and he has to be benched Sunday. This, of course, raises the possibility that Peterson will rip off a 75-yard score on one of his few carries that would make his fantasy owners apoplectic, but in all honesty, that would be a good thing.
What the Vikings (and Peterson's fantasy owners) hope to see Sunday, in the limited chances he gets, is the Adrian Peterson we've come to know and love. The burst, the decisiveness, the acceleration through the hole. If that's the case, and the knee doesn't flare up at all, then it's possible Peterson could see eight to 10 carries.
Then the waiting game will come to see if there's any swelling in the knee after going "all out" on it. Frankly I don't expect there to be, as if that was going to happen, it probably already would have.
If Peterson clears both those hurdles, it's not out of the realm of reason to expect his workload to increase in Week 2, and the potential for 15 carries against a Colts defense that's historically marshmallow soft against the run would probably be enough to get Peterson back into fantasy lineups.
If all goes well after that, it's a full workload in Week 3.
Against San Francisco's top-ranked run defense.
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