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Peterson back running, ‘way ahead’ of schedule on recovery

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Adrian Peterson has a history of healing quickly, and that might continue. The Vikings running back, out since suffering a knee injury in Week 2, did some running on the side during practice Tuesday. While Minnesota coach Mik...

Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) laughs with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) laughs with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-Adrian Peterson has a history of healing quickly, and that might continue.

The Vikings running back, out since suffering a knee injury in Week 2, did some running on the side during practice Tuesday. While Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer wouldn't speculate on when Peterson could return, he did speak with some optimism.

"He's doing good,'' Zimmer said. "He's probably ahead of schedule.''

Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon, who keeps in touch with Peterson, took that a step further. He said Peterson is "way ahead'' of schedule.

Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee Sept. 18 against Green Bay and had surgery Sept. 22 to repair it. Doctors who did not treat Peterson but who have worked on similar injuries speculated then that Peterson would be out at least three months.

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Peterson ran some sprints on the sideline in the Winter Park fieldhouse under the guidance of athletic trainer Eric Sugarman. Zimmer wouldn't say when Peterson had been cleared to run, but that Tuesday wasn't the first time. Guard Alex Boone, though, said it was the first time he had seen him run since the injury.

"Excited,'' Boone said. "He looked good and it kind of caught me off guard. We were doing a little walkthrough and he was running around. We look forward to his return.''

Peterson, 31, has history of coming back soon from injuries. Most notable was when he suffered a torn ACL in December 2011 and returned the next season to rush for 2,097 yards, the second-most in NFL history.

"He looked good to me,'' said cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. "He's different, man. He's a fast healer. He's unbelievable. I'm just amazed at the things that he can do. Other people with that injury, it might take them four to six months, but this guy he's ready to roll. I think he'll be back, and he's definitely going to help this team.''

Peterson is eligible now to come off the injured list. If the Vikings bring him back for practice, they would have 21 days to decide whether to activate him or shelve him for the season.

Without Peterson, the Vikings are last in the NFL in rushing with an average of 71.1 yards per game. They're averaging just 2.8 yards per carry, and trying to avoid being the first team since the 1994 New England Patriots (2.8) to average less than three in a season.

"I think when he's ready to return, that's going to be his decision, and how comfortable he is with it,'' McKinnon said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see it."

Peterson, making $12 million this season, is under contract next year for $18 million, although it's highly unlikely he'll end up playing for that amount. The Vikings could waive him in March and have no further financial obligation or could sign him to a renegotiated deal.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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