After months wondering whether they would ever see Adrian Peterson don the jersey again, Minnesota Vikings fans were delighted when he finally returned to the fold earlier this month.
As you might expect, with AP having not ran the ball in anger in a game since the opening week of the 2014 season, there is huge excitement to see the 10,000 yard runner back on the gridiron.
Comments from both head coach Mike Zimmer and Peterson himself, though, suggest that the Minnesota fan base might have to wait a while before they see the star under game conditions.
You might think that Peterson's lack of recent game time would mean the Vikings would be planning on throwing him into the thick of pre-season action to give the veteran a chance to reacclimatize to the NFL. To the disappointment of those fans with tickets to Minnesota's warmup games, Mike Zimmer isn't thinking along those lines:
"I probably don't see that no," Zimmer said via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "We're talking in June, so you can't hold me to it, but he's carried the ball a lot (in his career) and he's going to continue to carry the ball a lot. He'll get plenty of looks and reps in practice."
The policy isn't something new for Peterson and the Vikings. The running back hasn't had a carry in pre-season football since 2011 but, considering the unique circumstances in which he will enter the 2015 campaign, there had been some expectation that this might change.
By all accounts Adrian Peterson has looked as sharp as ever during Vikings OTAs these past couple of weeks and the player himself doesn't seem too concerned about being kept on the sidelines right up until Week One of the 2015 season:
"They've seen enough of me. I'll be ready to play."
"I feel like we're kind of working my way up to what Norv Turner wants to accomplish...I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like I've missed a beat. I'm still catching up with everything but ultimately I feel good."
Know what they have
During the controversial months that followed Peterson's charge with hitting his child with a switch his ability to play pro football has never been in much doubt.
Now, with the star back on side, Minnesota aren't about to risk any chance of injury by putting him out on the field in August when they know what he is capable of come the fall and into winter.
Unfortunately those fans who had bought pre-season tickets hoping to get an early glimpse of that potential might have to hold fire.