Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Peterson’s injury could be the latest curveball for Vikings’ offense

By Judd Zulgad

MINNEAPOLIS – Less than a month ago, the Vikings appeared set to enter the season with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson as the co-stars and centerpieces of their offense.

That plan was altered significantly on Aug. 30 when Bridgewater dislocated his left knee and tore his ACL during a practice. That left Peterson as the guy who was expected to be the headliner.

But that might have changed again on Sunday night, when the 31-year-old suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his right knee in the third quarter of the Vikings’ 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Peterson departed the stadium on crutches and with a cast-like device on his leg.

Coach Mike Zimmer said after the game that Peterson was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday morning, but offered no other information as to what type of damage Peterson might have done on a 5-yard gain.

Peterson remained on the turf for several minutes after hurting his knee, before needing assistance to get to the sideline. He then was carried off the field to the locker room by teammates and never put any weight on the knee.

“It’s very concerning,” said backup running back Jerick McKinnon, who gained only 2 yards on two carries Sunday. “Anytime one of our guys goes down it’s concerning. I hope he can get back. I don’t know what’s going on right now (with Peterson), but me, Matt (Asiata), all of our running backs have got to step up. … We’ve all got to find a way to get it done.”

Peterson departed having gained only 19 yards on 12 carries, a 1.6-yard average. That came after he rushed for only 31 yards on 19 carries, also a 1.6-yard average, in the Vikings’ victory at Tennessee in Week 1.

While Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs were the offensive stars for the Vikings on Sunday, Peterson again had trouble finding any rhythm. He had only 12 yards rushing on nine carries in the first half, but on the Vikings’ second series of the third quarter Peterson gained 4 yards to the Minnesota 17. On the next play, Bradford used a play-action fake to Peterson to freeze the Packers defense and then found Diggs for a 46-yard gain to the Green Bay 37. Peterson followed with his 5-yard run, his longest of the night, but did not get up.

As Peterson was taken to the locker room, Bradford found Diggs on a 25-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 17-7 lead.

Peterson is no stranger to significant knee injuries. He suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee late in the 2011 season against Washington and amazed everyone the following year when he returned to rush for 2,097 yards. That made him only the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season; his total was the second-highest to Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 yards in 1984.

There would have been years where Peterson’s injury would have cast a huge pall over the Vikings’ victory, even if it was against the Packers. But that did not feel like the case on Sunday.

That might be in part to the fact that this team already lost Bridgewater and has no idea when, or if, he will be able to return. Bridgewater’s injury was not only gruesome but also had to be considered demoralizing considering the expectations many had for him.

Zimmer deserves credit for being very good at remaining calm when a key player is lost. That dates to Zimmer’s first season, in 2014, when Peterson played in one game before leaving the team and facing child-abuse charges in Texas.

The Vikings are 2-0 and lead the NFC North, despite having had Shaun Hill and Bradford start games. Bradford’s play on Sunday night (22 of 31 for 286 yards with two touchdowns) provides hope that the offense will be fine.

If Peterson had been carrying the Vikings on his back, as he has done at times in the past, his injury might have caused more panic. But that is no longer the case. Peterson has rushed for 100 yards only once in his past eight games, dating to last season.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be a big deal if he’s lost for a significant amount of time, but the Vikings certainly won’t fold. Bradford and Diggs will be counted on to make sure that won’t happen, as will McKinnon and Asiata, along with an offensive line that needs to start playing better.

“It’s really sad,” Asiata said when asked about Peterson going down. “Just how close we are. But the next man up, you’ve just got to step up and try and fill in the job.”

That’s a cliché, but in Zimmer’s world it often has become the reality.

The post Zulgad: Peterson’s injury could be the latest curveball for Vikings’ offense appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>