Good news, defensive players for the Minnesota Vikings. You can now touch Adrian Peterson without worrying that it will cost you your job.
Just don't tackle him.
Peterson has been cleared to take contact in practice, but upper body contact only. No one can hit him below the waist, and no one can take him to the ground. There's no report of anyone being threatened with immediate release if they do, but it's probably best if they don't risk it.
Head coach Leslie Frazier was happy with Peterson and how his defense handled their task.
"There were times there was nowhere to go and he had to run into people, and he responded well," Frazier said. "That was good to see. There were some good, hard hits. Nothing to the ground, just guys thudding him."
Peterson still says he'll be ready for the Vikings opener a week from Sunday, but it's fair to be concerned about a running back who is currently only ready for "thudding." Now, the Vikings wait and see how the knee responds to a day of light contact.
There's still next week for the initial barrage of real hits, if Peterson shows he's ready for it. I just really hope that he and the Vikings are using all necessary caution. If there's any additional risk in coming back too soon, it's not worth it. Peterson has a long career ahead of him.
Peterson tore his ACL and MCL last December in a Week 16 game against the Redskins.