The last time Adrian Peterson suffered a major knee injury, he came back in record time and ended up leading the NFL in rushing and winning the league MVP award in 2012.
Neither of those achievements is likely as Peterson recovers from surgery to repair torn meniscus following a Week 2 injury against the Packers, but the 31-year-old, seven-time Pro Bowl selection reportedly is on track to get back on the field in mid- to late December, according to ESPN.
Peterson reportedly could start running this week, and if he keeps progressing possible return dates are Dec. 18 vs. Indianapolis and Dec. 24 at Green Bay. Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards in 2015 but this season was off to the slowest start of his career before the injury. He had 31 carries for 50 yards and no touchdowns in 6 ½ quarters when he went down against the Packers.
Still, he could be the offensive difference-maker the Vikings have been looking for as they’ve fallen from a 5-0 start to 6-4, and his teammates know better than to doubt him.
"He’s a workaholic," cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said Monday, via ESPN. "I definitely wouldn’t put anything past this guy. He’s a fast healer. His makeup is definitely a fighter. We’ll see. I think [he’ll be back], but at the same time, you never know. That’s a tough injury to come back from. He’s got to think about his career, but he’s a guy that wants to come out there and help the team win. One thing is on his mind: He wants to win that Super Bowl. So he feels like if he can come back and definitely contribute to us winning, he definitely will do it."