Adrian Peterson’s return is a dud, but he’ll keep going

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Adrian Peterson was hoping his faster-than-expected return would help catapult the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs.

Instead, the Vikings fell flat in a 34-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, a curiously uninspired performance that all but eliminated them from postseason contention. Peterson, who had not played since September because of a torn meniscus in his right knee, had just 22 yards on six carries, including a crucial fumble in the first half on a rare trip into Colts territory.

Before he came back, Peterson said he would not play the remainder of the season if the Vikings were out of contention. He didn’t want to risk any further injury with an uncertain future. But after the Colts loss, Peterson said he planned to play Saturday in Green Bay.

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“Definitely not what I envisioned coming into this game,” Peterson said. “It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did.”

The U.S. Bank Stadium crowd gave him a rousing ovation when he was introduced before the game, but he had runs of 2, 1, 0, 2 and 4 yards behind an offensive line that has struggled to open holes in the running game all season long. He popped one solid run — a 13-yarder — but had the ball stripped out by Mike Adams to stunt one of the few drives the offense had going in the first half. The Vikings managed just two first downs in the first two quarters and trailed 27-0 at the break.

“There were some runs he probably needed to do a little bit better, and there were some times where there wasn’t much there,” coach Mike Zimmer said Monday. “He only had 12 plays.”