EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson will have surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus, putting his season and perhaps his 10-year run with Minnesota in question.
But the Vikings have held off for now on placing the franchise’s all-time leading rusher on injured reserve.
Peterson was hurt in Sunday night’s victory over Green Bay, needing assistance off the field after his knee twisted while being tackled at the end of a run. He has only 50 yards on 31 attempts this season.
Peterson told ESPN on Wednesday morning that the type of tear he was diagnosed with typically requires a minimum recovery time of three to four months. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the timetable for Peterson’s return won’t be clear until after the procedure.
“Everything is possible,” Zimmer said. “It could be season ending. It could be three weeks, four weeks. I don’t know.”
Peterson made a swift recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in the second-to-last game of the 2011 season. He came back with a flourish and won the league MVP award the next year with 2,097 yards rushing. He led the NFL in rushing again last season, but he’s 31 now with a contract that might not make financial sense in its current state for the Vikings to carry next year.
The Vikings (2-0) signed running back Ronnie Hillman, who was on Denver’s Super Bowl-winning team last season. Jerick McKinnon will start on Sunday at defending NFC champion Carolina, and Matt Asiata has proven to be a capable backup.
Already without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who went down with a massive knee injury on Aug. 30 during a routine practice drill, the Vikings must also move on without their starting left tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil was placed on injured reserve with a lingering hip problem that he played through in the first two games. He will require surgery that Zimmer said the team believes will be season ending. T.J. Clemmings will start in his place.
The Vikings haven’t given up on their chase for a championship, though. Sam Bradford had a brilliant debut against the Packers in Bridgewater’s place, and McKinnon and Asiata were a relatively productive tandem in 2014 when Peterson was sidelined during the fallout from a child abuse case.
“They’re resilient. They’re tough. They’re competitive,” Zimmer said. “Obviously we’ve had a few setbacks, but I think we can go back to last year and think about some of the things that happened. We’re not the type of team that’s going to sit back and cry about what’s happened. We’re going to go forward. Try, like I’ve said before, to find a way.”