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Updated: June 20th, 2012 1:50pm
Adrian Peterson 'going wide open' as rehab continues at Vikings camp

Adrian Peterson 'going wide open' as rehab continues at Vikings camp

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson may not be close to putting on pads yet, but the Minnesota Vikings' star halfback said on Wednesday he has taken another step in the right direction in his rehabilitation from knee reconstruction.

"I'm feeling pretty good, where I'm at now," Peterson said. "I'm pretty much wide open, so I'm able to go out and do everything, cutting and different things like that, so I'm feeling pretty good."

Peterson tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Dec. 24 at Washington and underwent surgery six days later.

During Tuesday's minicamp practice, Peterson continued his rehab with Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman on the side, running up hills and working with resistance bands.

"I was cutting (Tuesday) and it made me feel good," Peterson said. "I know my body and I know that I'm just not there yet. It's not just terrible, but I'm not to where I know I need to be."

For the first several months, Peterson said he had to take it slow and make sure not to damage the graft in his knee. Now Peterson is to a point at which, according to him, teammate Percy Harvin said if he didn't know Peterson had surgery, it'd be hard to tell the difference.

Peterson beat teammates in footraces as early as late April. Now he says he's been able to go wide open, and the next step is football activities.

"It's hard to actually imitate being out there on the field and cutting on a dime," Peterson said. "It's football, it's different. So, I think that'll be the next test, but I'm doing as much as I can to kind of imitate that off the field."

Coach Leslie Frazier said he remains optimistic about Peterson playing in the Sept. 9 opener against Jacksonville but quickly noted that he and the training staff would need to see consistent improvement in the coming weeks before he would give him the green light for training camp.

"We need to be able to see him cut, be able to explode out of a cut, change direction without having any residual effects from that," Frazier said.

"Maybe the next step will be putting on some shoulder pads and seeing how he takes contact and seeing how he cuts when people come at him, but we've got to get to the point in the next weeks and months where we're asking him to do a bit more and seeing how he responds. We're too far out right now to predict where we'll be five weeks from now, six weeks from now."

Will he be ready to go when training camp begins on July 27?

Peterson said he doesn't know, but his goal remains to participate in some part of camp and continue building towards the opener.

"That's my goal," Peterson said of participating in camp. "How much, I'm sure the staff will evaluate things and they'll let me know probably what's the best thing for me. I'm just going to go with the flow and just control what I can control at this time."

The plan until camp opens, according to Frazier, is for Peterson to split his rehab between Minnesota and his Houston home, as he has much of the offseason.

"We're a ways away," Frazier said. "Although, there is a (regimen) that he has to follow and he's following that (regimen) and he's on course to be doing the things that we're asking him to do. So, as long as he stays on the range that we're working with, then you're OK. If you have a setback, then you get a little concerned.

"We haven't had any setbacks. He's been able to hand everything that they've asked him to do step by step. And so as long as we continue to see that, you can remain optimistic that his goal of being ready for the Jacksonville game is a possibility."