Adrian Peterson is hoping to return to the field for the Vikings in mid-December. This according to a report from ESPN.
Why is AD pushing himself to return so quickly? Ben Goessling suggests that Peterson is motivated to get back this year because the Super Bowl is in Houston and he'd love to win a championship in his home state of Texas.
My somewhat more cynical take: Peterson knows the Vikings may cut him to save money and if he does get cut he wants to be in position to negotiate a lucrative new contract somewhere.
If he comes back and runs well, teams will feel safer throwing money at him.
Viking fans look at Peterson as a potential savior. Would Peterson give the offense the boost necessary to propel Minnesota to the playoffs?
The odds are against it.
It would likely take Peterson a couple of weeks to work himself back into full game-shape. The clock would likely run out on the Vikings' season before Peterson had a chance to really get back to form.
There's also the problem of working him into an offense that under Pat Shurmur has evolved somewhat away from the scheme Norv Turner was trying to run.
Peterson never looked in sync with the Vikings' shotgun looks. But with Sam Bradford in there and the offensive line struggling in pass protection, the Vikes have become largely a shotgun, get-the-ball-out-as-fast-as-possible offense.
Are the Vikings going to scrap - or at least dial back - the shotgun just to accommodate Peterson? Are they going to bring back Norv's deep drops and play-action?
The blocking isn't suddenly going to improve just because Peterson is back.
If lack of running back talent were the Vikings' ONLY problem, I would feel much more confident about Peterson returning and kick-starting the offense.
But the offense has a lot of other problems too. And Peterson's return might in some ways actually cause that unit to regress.
Had Peterson not gotten hurt, I have no doubt the Vikings' offense would be better than it is. And it's likely Norv Turner would still be the OC.
But the continuity has been broken and the scheme has been shifted. Mixing Peterson into the new, evolving offense might do more harm than good.
Peterson would love to prove that he can make this comeback, pick the team up and carry it into the playoffs.
But it's more likely that, in typical Peterson fashion, he would fumble away his chance at redemption.
Peterson should focus on next year. He's no savior.