Adrian Peterson Injury: Could Vikings RB's 2012 Status Be in Jeopardy?

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIDecember 26, 2011

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

When it was revealed that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had torn his ACL and MCL, and suffered additional damage to his medial and lateral menisci, immediately focus turned towards the 2012 season and whether or not he could possibly be back time to open the year.

While Peterson has an incredibly strong body, even with a perfect rehab schedule the injury will likely take between eight to 10 months to heal. With surgery at this point in the year, that means Peterson will not be ready to come back until at least late August. More than likely we won't see AP on the field until sometime in October and his entire 2012 season has to be considered in doubt at this point.

The Vikings are likely to struggle again next season. At 3-12 they appear to be a lock for the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL draft and should be able to get some help with those picks. Unfortunately, that just means Minnesota will have a young, inexperienced roster again next season.

After taking quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Vikings have gotten a minimal return on that investment. Ponder has struggled all season and hasn't actually shown much improvement. In the past few weeks the rookie from Florida State has been outplayed by backup Joe Webb as it is. Minnesota fans can't be sold on his future at this point.

If the Vikings reach mid to late October and they haven't improved and have no chance at the postseason, would it really be worth it to bring Peterson back? 

While he could certainly practice with the team and continue to rehab the knee, there would be almost no point in him seeing the field next year if the team is out of the playoff chase and headed for yet another high draft pick.

We'll see how this goes but Vikings fans should start preparing themselves now for seeing very little of their star running back next season.