- The Washington Times - Monday, December 26, 2011

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. | The athletic abilities of star running back Adrian Peterson led the Minnesota Vikings to give him a seven-year, $100 million contract extension before the season started.

Now, they hope his recuperative abilities are just as good and he is able to live up to being the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

Minnesota expects Peterson to be recovered from left knee surgery for two torn ligaments in time to start the 2012 season.

“We expect most people to recover from this injury in eight to nine months and instead of comparing Adrian to any other player at any level that’s had an anterior cruciate ligament, and they happen every day, I would really like Adrian to stand on his own merit because Adrian, I feel, is very unique,” Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman said Monday.

Peterson tore his ACL and MCL when he was hit in the side of the knee by Washington Redskins safety DeJon Gomes in the third quarter of Saturday’s 33-26 win at Washington.

An MRI on Saturday evening revealed the ligament tears and meniscus damage, and Peterson will undergo surgery within the next seven to 10 days.

Backup Toby Gerhart, who started three games earlier this season when Peterson was out with a high ankle sprain, will start Sunday in the season-finale against the Chicago Bears.

Pins to come out of Cutler’s thumb

LAKE FOREST, Ill. | Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will have surgical pins removed from his right thumb Tuesday, coach Lovie Smith said.

Cutler has not played since a win over the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20, when he broke his thumb trying to help make a tackle after throwing an interception.

Around the league

c BILLS: Buffalo left tackle Bell (knee/ankle), right guard-center Urbik (right knee) and reserve tight end Mike Caussin (right knee) were ruled out of this Sunday’s season-ending game at New England. They were hurt in Saturday’s 40-14 win over Denver.

c RAMS: Justin King (shoulder) became the fourth St. Louis cornerback to be sidelined with a season-ending injury. He joins Ron Bartell, Brandon Fletcher and Al Harris.

c PANTHERS: Carolina wide receiver Legedu Naanee broke a small bone in his right foot during Saturday’s win over Tampa Bay and is done for the season. Naanee started 10 games, with 44 receptions for 467 yards and one touchdown.

c JAGUARS: Jacksonville defensive end Aaron Kampman is on crutches again after having surgery on his right knee for the second time in two years.