Adrian Peterson: What to Expect from Minnesota Vikings' Star in Week 1

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings is helped off the field after being injured in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on December 24, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson coming off season-ending knee surgery, there were many questions about whether or not the bruiser would be ready for the start of the 2012 season.

Peterson is not only on track to play in the team’s first game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he is ready to take 10-15 carries in Week 1, according to CBSSports NFL insider Jason La Canfora.

Final determination on AP won't come tile after warmups, but if he plays as expected Vikings aim for 10-15 carries team source says...

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 9, 2012

Now that the Vikings are giving their star a chance to shine on the field Sunday, the expectations loaded on the shoulders of the running back need to be tamed.

Peterson will not return to star status in Week 1, but his presence on the field is an amazing sign for the future.


Sunday’s Stats

Assuming that Peterson is given 15 snaps on Sunday against the Jaguars is a very big leap of faith considering the extent of the surgery the All-Star had just a few months ago. As a franchise, the Vikings would be smarter keeping his carries at or around a total of 10.

With a tough Jaguars defensive front seven, Peterson would have a hard time mounting a strong offensive even if he was 100 percent healthy. If the Vikings or fantasy owners are expecting glimpses of the old AP, they won’t come against Jacksonville.

When the final whistle blows, Peterson will walk away with 11 carries for 31 yards and no touchdowns. As much as that looks terrible on paper, it will be a huge first step in the return process.


Toby Gerhart

The injury to Peterson and the process of getting re-acclimated to the league with the injury has opened the door for bruising running back Toby Gerhart.

While Peterson is due 10-15 carries, the rest will be handed to the power-running Gerhart.

Gerhart faces the same tough front seven of the Jaguars—one of the most underestimated units in all of football—and will not find as much success as the experts are predicting. With 25 carries at most, the young back will struggle to hit 100 yards on the day.

In fantasy leagues, the Minnesota backfield situation is tough to predict, but I would stay away from both players Sunday if you can. If you need to start one or the other, Gerhart is definitely the smarter play.


Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.