Will Adrian Peterson be as good as he was before tearing his ACL?

Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been cleared to practice and play again after recovering from tearing an ACL at the end of last season. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

The question is not if Adrian Peterson will be able to return to being a dominant back. The question is when Adrian Peterson will be able to return to being a dominant NFL back. It is almost routine for players, especially young players, to come back strong from serious knee injuries. It’s not like it was in 1970.

And Peterson is a physical phenomenon who has so much going for him that he will be able to compensate if his knee is not quite as flexible or strong as it once was. It typically takes a player about one full year to recover from an injury of this magnitude, however. That means Peterson is more likely to be king of the NFL runners again in 2013 after a year of being just a very good back.


Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun

At first, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be tentative and not the superior back he once was. But after four games, look out. I would expect him to run wild in the last 12 games, especially when quarterback Christian Ponder proves he can’t win a game by throwing the ball. When the Vikings feel comfortable with Peterson’s health, they’ll simply have Ponder turn around and hand the football to him.

He can return to form as one of the NFL’s top running backs, it just won’t happen overnight. He can easily gain 1,000 yards in 2012, but much will depend on how good the Vikings are. If they are always coming from behind, Peterson will get fewer chances to run the ball.

I would expect Peterson to be good in 2012, but he will have a monster year in 2013 if he has no injury setbacks.


Dieter Kurtenbach, South Florida Sun Sentinel

I have no doubt that Adrian Peterson will be back in optimal physical condition in time for the 2012 regular season. Surely, the workout warrior will be physically capable of again putting up All-Pro numbers. But I don’t think he will.

Peterson’s season-ending knee injury wasn’t his only injury in 2011, and after the injury-plagued season, I expect the Vikings to be cautious with Peterson in 2012 and beyond.

Peterson might be in his peak years physically, but after the Vikings inked Peterson to a front-loaded, $100 million, seven-year contract in September 2011, I expect the team to do their best to protect their investment.


That means Peterson won’t be handed the ball as often in 2012. It’s a prudent decision for the Vikings, it will minimize wear-and-tear on the Vikings’ most expensive and injury-susceptible player, while it nearly guarantees the team won’t have to pay Peterson his million-dollar bonus for rushing for 1,250 yards.


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