Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday that it is possible Adrian Peterson could return from knee surgery this season and help the Vikings in a playoff push.
The Vikings are off to a 5-0 start and Peterson remains on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
The Vikings have not exercised their injured reserve "designated to return" option yet. It means that one of the 10 players the team currently has on IR are able to come back.
If he's healthy enough, Peterson would be eligible for the designation.
"Usually Adrian becomes stronger as the season goes along and as the games progress, so I look at it as he's going to do everything he can to get back," said Vikings GM Rick Spielman Tuesday. "I look at it also as at least eight, nine weeks of not taking hits on that body, which is going to make him pretty fresh."
AP's long-term future
That might not be the biggest decision the Vikings face with Peterson though. Peterson's future beyond this season with Minnesota becomes pretty hazy.
The Pioneer Press notes that he is due to make $18 million in 2017, including a $6 million roster bonus due in March. But the Vikings can decline the bonus – without a penalty.
Spielman wasn't revealing much about the team's plans for 2017.
"At the end of the season, we'll assess everything, where we're at," Spielman said. "I have looked a lot at what our 2017 roster is going to look like and some of the significant contracts that we may have coming up and some of the guys that we may not be able to afford to keep, so you're always planning to look ahead on that front."