Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in week 16 of the 2011 season. Peterson has commented numerous times that he will be ready for week one of the 2012 NFL season. Now, his back up, Toby Gerhart is sharing a similar viewpoint to that of Peterson.
During a Sunday appearance with Jim Souhan and Tom Pelissero on “Sunday Morning Sports Talk” on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, Toby Gerhart said he wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson is ready for the Vikings’ Sept. 9 opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I think he will be,” Gerhart said. “You can never be surprised with Adrian. The way he comes to work every day, the way he pushes himself. I mean, he was flying around, straight-line speed, moving out there. Racing Percy (Harvin) up the hill, doing conditioning stuff. I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks now, but I’m sure he’s continued to make leaps and bounds in progress.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s ready. You can never count Adrian out.”
If Peterson starts the 2012 NFL season he will nine months removed from major knee surgery. The Minnesota Vikings would be smart to take it slow with Peterson as they are no where near ready to compete in the NFC North. With a team still rebuilding, the last thing they need to do is ruin a career running back’s career. Relying on second round draft pick Toby Gerhart to open the season would be the smartest decision for Minnesota.
In addition to starting five games, Gerhart had 413 of his 509 rushing yards in the final six weeks of the season. Gerhart is preparing to be the starter until Peterson is ready to go.
“I’m looking, going into the season, to have a big role,” Gerhart said. “I don’t know how big it will be, but I’m looking like I’m going to be the starter from Day 1 and have to be the starter all the way on through until Adrian is back and ready and (at) full speed. So I’m excited about that, and ready to embrace that and go out and help this team win and really show people what I can do.”