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Updated: August 8th, 2012 1:16pm
Adrian Peterson doesn't want to wear a brace, could practice next week

Adrian Peterson doesn't want to wear a brace, could practice next week

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings' medical staff will have a say in the matter, but Adrian Peterson made clear on Wednesday he doesn't want to wear a knee brace when he returns to action.

His practice debut could come as soon as Sunday, when the Vikings return to work here following Friday's exhibition opener at San Francisco. The last thing Peterson wants is a constant reminder attached to the left knee he had reconstructed on Dec. 30.

"It's just uncomfortable," Peterson said of wearing a brace. "It is what it is. If I get hit in the knee, it's like I'm back to normal now. I'm just looking at it like that.

"I'm not trying to have that mentally -- 'I've got this knee brace on' so you're kind of playing timid or you're kind of thinking a little more. I'm just going all natural like I've been."

Peterson said he planned to meet again on Wednesday night with coach Leslie Frazier, who said discussions with his star halfback about coming off the active/physically unable to perform list have been "neverending. But he knows we have a plan, we're talking through that plan and he's on board."

The plan is for Peterson to stay back in the Twin Cities while teammates make the trip to San Francisco, then rejoin them here in time for Sunday's morning walkthrough.

Frazier reiterated the Vikings want to get Peterson some work in the preseason, provided what they see in practice supports their belief he can be ready for the regular-season opener on Sept. 9 against Jacksonville.

"He's going to be relentless until we let him back out there," Frazier said, "but we've got to be smart and I've got to continue to listen to what the doctors and trainers tell me. But everything I'm hearing is extremely positive, so we'll see where we are."

Asked if there is any reason to believe Peterson won't be ready for the opener, Frazier said, "There are no indications at this point that he wouldn't be. Everything that he's done, he's right on point.

"Now, I say that without him ever participating in a drill with his teammates. But all the things he's done on the side, he's looking very, very good. But we still have some more steps to take."

Peterson said he has stopped trying to talk Frazier into letting him practice every day. The message is obvious, though, especially since Peterson fought to stay off the active/PUP list in the first place and declared himself game-ready shortly after training camp opened.

"We're going to talk (Wednesday) night a little bit," Peterson said. "I'm looking forward to being out here pretty soon. I've been out for like two weeks, so it's time to get going. I know that they understand that and they've been watching and they've been getting good feedback, so I'm sure they're pretty much as excited as I am."

The next threshold is what happens when he takes a hit on the knee, which Peterson said he might cover with a sleeve just to keep it warm. He said he still experiences numbness "for a good period of time" in the patellar tendon area from which doctors grafted his new anterior cruciate ligament and wants to know what happens when there's contact.

Does he have a number of preseason carries in mind to make him comfortable before the real games begin?

"Not really," Peterson said. "However many times they give me the ball, I'll be ready to hold the load. I'm sure if I'm in the game plan, it probably won't be too many snaps, but I'll take advantage of the opportunities that I do get."

Frazier said there is no set number of practices Peterson would need to go through before getting into a game situation. However, the third preseason game on Aug. 24 against San Diego seems logical if Peterson begins practicing in some capacity next week.

"We'll have to kind of play it by ear and see how he responds daily to some of the activities we put him through once we get him out there," Frazier said. "We've got to get a feel for him, where his confidence level is, and then we'll need to be able to see certain things as well."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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