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Updated: August 27th, 2012 5:55pm
Adrian Peterson allowed to take hits in practice for first time

Adrian Peterson allowed to take hits in practice for first time

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson made another important step in his recovery from knee surgery last winter as he took hits for the first time in practice on Monday at Winter Park.

The Vikings were in full pads and while Peterson was not taken to the ground by the defense, he also was no longer off limits when it came to delivering hits. None of the contact, of course, was delivered low to Peterson's knees.

Peterson, who will not play in the preseason but has targeted the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Jacksonville as his return date, was taken off the active/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 12 after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Dec. 30.

He was injured in the Vikings' victory on Dec. 24 at Washington.

"We put him through some things today," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "We told our defense to hit him a little bit and wanted to see how he responded. So I'm anxious to talk with him and see how he did.

"I told (running backs coach) James Saxon to tell him there would be contact today and if the guys hit him too hard to make sure he let me know and let Sax know. He told James Saxon, 'You tell coach to tell those defensive players to buckle up.' I knew it would get him fired up. He did pretty good just from an observation standpoint. We'll see when I talk with him, see how he feels."

Frazier said Peterson took "some good hard hits," and did a nice job adjusting on the fly as he looked for open running lanes. Peterson's ability to cut on his reconstructed knee is something the Vikings need to see before they clear him to play in a game.

"There were times there was nowhere to go and he had to run into people and had to respond," Frazier said. "It was good to see. Guys thud him (hit him but didn't tackle him) and it seemed like he handled it pretty well. I'm sure he'll be a little bit sore tomorrow when he wakes up."

Peterson was not made available to comment after Monday's practice, but Frazier said everything continues to go well when it comes to the star running back's recovery. Peterson has had as many as 18 carries in a practice but did not handle the football that many times Monday.

"He hasn't had any swelling or any soreness," Frazier said. "Everything has gone relatively smoothly at this point. He's been doing well."

Frazier hasn't been willing to say Peterson definitely will play against the Jaguars.

Asked what Peterson's role might be in that game if he does play, Frazier said: "I want to see what he has to say after what we did today. Then we need to go through a full week with him in the game plan to see how he responds. I'm anxious to talk with him and see what he thought about today."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Adrian Peterson