Trainer preaches patience in Adrian Peterson's comeback

Unfortunately, much of the focus on the Minnesota Vikings of late has been off the field and on the team’s march to land a new stadium.

On the field, it’s a rebuilding process in more ways than one. Running back Adrian Peterson, the face of the franchise at this point, is working to come back from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. He’s been very public about his desire to be on the field for the season opener, a goal some believe is a little too ambitious.

Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune caught up with Eric Sugarman, the team’s head athletic trainer, to review the situation. Let’s just say the team is being extra cautious, and for good reason.

“I love Adrian," Sugarman said, according to Wiederer. “But let's make this clear: I'm still not going to be quoted as saying he's going to play in the first game. That's not fair. I don't know that.

“He'll keep throwing that (date Sept. 9) out there. And good for him. That's great. That's obviously our goal, to get him playing the first game. But only if he's functionally safe to do it. This is our franchise. We can't be foolish about this.”

Peterson and Sugarman are holding a press conference today and Peterson is expected to be upbeat and maybe even show off some progress with some rehab moves in the team’s practice facility. It’s one thing to run and jump. It’s another thing, Sugarman says, to perform like an NFL running back, one of the best in the entire league.

“Right now, when he tries to stop on a dime, he looks like he's on ice," Sugarman said. "That's normal. Deceleration is the hardest thing for those guys. Now we're starting to pound all that over the next couple months -- function and deceleration. That should just take us right to where hopefully he needs to be."

Whether that is Sept. 9 or not, we’ll have to wait and see. No one will be surprised if Peterson misses the start of the season.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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