Growing opinion: Vikings should shut down Adrian Peterson for the season

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What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

The 2012 NFL MVP gave fans a huge scare when he rolled around on the ground in intense pain after being tackled during the second quarterback of Minnesota's 29-26 loss in Baltimore on Sunday. He left the game and later returned to watch from the bench.

The diagnosis on his injury is a mid-foot sprain. Peterson, who was wearing a walking boot on his left foot on Monday, says he wants to play Sunday when the Vikings host the Philadelphia Eagles.

"What is often the case is, guys will feel much better [a day or two after a sprain]," ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell said. "They say, 'This isn’t so bad. I can walk around on it.' And then they try and run."

Even if he is ready to play, ESPN's Ben Goessling wonders if the Vikings should shut Peterson down to protect him for the 2014 season and beyond.

It's quite possible that unless the specialist gives Peterson a clean bill of health -- and can convince the team he won't do any further damage by playing -- the Vikings will sit him down for their last three games.

Even if the injury is simply a mid-foot sprain, though, Peterson could find that injury tough to return from before the end of the season. It caused Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to miss six weeks in 2012, leading him at one point to wonder if he'd miss the rest of the season. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew sprained his left foot in September after missing 10 games last season with a Lisfranc injury. He's only missed a game, but is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry this season, after posting at least 4.2-yard average in every season of his career before this one.

Judd Zulgad agrees with shutting down Peterson. He even questioned the decision to allow Peterson to play on a snow-covered field in Baltimore in the first place, citing the nagging groin injury that Peterson has been hampered by for more than a month.

Coach Leslie Frazier was asked during his Monday press conference if the fact that Minnesota is out of contention will play into any decision to shut him down.

"Depending on what we find out, it will factor in," Frazier said. "We'll find out more this afternoon (Monday) and make a decision there, but you can't ignore that fact."

No decision, at least not publicly, has been made yet.

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