Adrian Peterson Will Miss Next Game

Tuesday, November 13th 2007, 7:24 am
By: News On 6

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ As Adrian Peterson was prone on the Lambeau Field turf, his football future flashed before his eyes as a searing pain radiated from his right knee.

``That pain was horrible. I don't know if you've ever experienced pain where you don't want anybody to touch you. Just be still for a few minutes until it calms down. That's the kind of pain it was,'' Peterson said. ``Not really knowing what to expect because it was my knee. I was just praying, 'God please, don't let it be anything serious.'''

He spent a sleepless Sunday night at his home in Eden Prairie, with the worry getting so great that he found himself doing a self-examination of both knees to see if he could detect any differences, all in the hope of finding some comfort.

After getting an MRI exam on Monday, Peterson should be sleeping much better now.

The rookie sensation, who just a week earlier set the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego, will miss at least one game with a torn lateral collateral ligament. But the injury is not deemed serious enough to require surgery or jeopardize Peterson's season.

``I was very relieved. It could've been a lot worse,'' Peterson said. ``I just thank God. I'll be back soon.''

Vikings coach Brad Childress ruled Peterson out for Sunday's game against Oakland, but wouldn't put a timetable on his recovery beyond that.

Team doctors told Childress that with ligament tears graded on a three-point scale, with three being the worst, Peterson's tear is ``two-plus.'' It's not as serious as an anterior cruciate ligament tear.

``He's lucky,'' head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said. ``If he's 30 degrees in front with that foot fixed, we're talking about a very significant injury today. So he's very lucky that this is all he has.''

Peterson was injured in the third quarter Sunday. Packers cornerback Al Harris hit him in the knee just as Peterson was about to make a cut downfield, and he writhed in pain for several minutes in a scary scene.

``I remember just making my cut, trying to beat one guy, and he came out of nowhere,'' Peterson said.

Losing the only offensive star it has will be a devastating blow to a unit that has struggled in every game Peterson has not topped 200 yards rushing this season. It's been a one-man show in Minnesota, with Peterson accounting for 1,081 of the team's 1,551 yards rushing and eight of the team's 10 touchdowns rushing.

In addition to making history two weeks ago against the Chargers, the No. 7 overall draft pick out of Oklahoma was on pace to smash Eric Dickerson's record for yards rushing by a rookie in a single season.

Peterson took over for veteran Chester Taylor as the starter after rushing for 224 yards in a victory over Chicago on Oct. 14. The Vikings scored 34 points that week, and the only other time they've topped 30 points in a game this season was in their 35-17 victory over the Chargers two weeks ago.

An unbalanced attack on offense is mostly to blame. The Vikings rank No. 1 in the NFL in rush offense, but are 31st in passing offense and have played musical quarterbacks all season.

Brooks Bollinger became the third quarterback to start this season in Sunday's loss to Green Bay, and Childress said he will go with Tarvaris Jackson against the Raiders.

With the Packers keyed almost solely on stopping Peterson, the dazzling runner was limited to 45 yards on 11 carries before he was hurt. The Vikings had just 17 plays in the first half thanks to Bollinger's struggles in the passing game, and had no chance after falling behind 20-0 early in the second half.

``I would just say that I didn't see us play at the level that we played at the week before,'' Childress said.

For the immediate future, at least, the Vikings must find a way to get back to that level without the player who galvanizes them on offense.

Taylor will jump back into the starter's role until Peterson is ready to go again. He topped 1,200 yards in his first season as a starter last season and is averaging 5.0 yards in a backup role this season.

``He obviously has a track record,'' Childress said. ``He's a good player as well, so just like I mention to you every week, we just expect somebody to pick up from there.''

The good news for the Vikings is that Peterson won't be gone for as long as initially feared when replays showed Harris plowing into the planted leg.

He will have to wear a brace to protect the knee at first, Sugarman said, but once he regains the ability to cut and plant, he will be back on the field.

``Adrian's going to be fine,'' Sugarman said. ``He just needs a little time to heal.''