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Updated: August 14th, 2012 6:04pm
Adrian Peterson practices, says goal of playing in opener 'closer now'

Adrian Peterson practices, says goal of playing in opener 'closer now'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- His first padded practice out of the way, Adrian Peterson said on Tuesday afternoon his goal to play in the Minnesota Vikings' opener on Sept. 9 against Jacksonville seems more attainable than ever.

"Despite what everyone else had to say, that was my vision," said Peterson, who is 7½ removed from Dec. 30 surgery to reconstruct his left knee.

"I seen a vision. I knew it was going to be a journey, a path, to get closer to that vision, and I'm closer. I see it. It's closer now. It was far away in the beginning, but I've been working hard and just moving forward.

"So, hopefully, here in a couple weeks -- here in a couple weeks, not hopefully -- that vision will be right there in front of me in my lap. So, I'm looking forward to it."

Peterson participated in only 10 snaps in 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills at Tuesday's practice, carrying the ball twice past defenders who were under strict orders from coach Leslie Frazier not to make contact with the star halfback.

"Initially, I kind of expected to get hit or bumped or something," Peterson said, "and then I seen Coach Frazier run over to the defensive side of the ball and that kind of opened my eyes up to, hey, these guys are definitely not going to put their hands on me. I didn't really like that too much."

Does that mean Peterson can't lower his shoulders into defenders either?

"Oh, I'm going to lower my shoulders," Peterson said, grinning. "Those guys probably are going to get tired of touching off and get tired of me putting my shoulder into them. So, they'll start firing back, and that's pretty much what I wanted to do."

As planned, Peterson didn't wear a brace on the knee -- part of his plan to play his game, rather than worrying about the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament he tore on a hit by Washington safety DeJon Gomes on Dec. 24.

Peterson said he asked Frazier and running backs coach James Saxon for more work on Wednesday but was denied. He was only removed from the active/physically unable to perform list on Sunday, and Frazier made clear the Vikings will remain cautious.

That didn't stop Peterson from grinning broadly as he went through position drills at the start of practice, knowing the next big step in his rehabilitation was at hand.

"For the first day, it was good," Peterson said, "so hopefully, (on Wednesday) we kind of bump it up a little bit and see how things go."

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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