Just as Peterson pushed for all summer, the 27-year-old star running back was among the 46 players suited up for Minnesota on Sunday to face the Jaguars. Peterson is a little more than eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Though he experienced no setbacks in his rehabilitation, the Vikings cautiously waited until before the game to officially clear Peterson for action and have long intended to limit his workload at least for the early stage of the season. Gerhart is expected to be the featured runner for now. If the Vikings stick with their conservative approach to easing Peterson back in on his reconstructed joint, the lighter load will be an unfamiliar role for him. He has averaged more than 19 carries per game over his first five seasons in the league.
For the Jaguars, running back Maurice Jones-Drew was on the active list as promised by coach Mike Mularkey, one week after last year’s NFL leading rusher ended his holdout and reported to the team. He’s the backup behind Rashad Jennings for now, but like Peterson the limitation will probably only last so long.
The Jaguars put five defensive players on their inactive list, including two starters, cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) and outside linebacker Daryl Smith (abdomen/groin). William Middleton replaced Cox and Kyle Bosworth stepped in for Smith in the starting lineup. Backup defensive ends Austen Lane (foot), George Selvie (knee) and Jeris Pendleton were also inactive, along with two offensive reserves, lineman Josh Beekman and wide receiver Brian Robiskie.
Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon, bothered by an ankle injury earlier in the week, was on the active list to make his NFL debut.
Inactive for the Vikings were all backups: quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, wide receiver Jarius Wright, cornerback A.J. Jefferson, safety Andrew Sendejo, linebackers Marvin Mitchell and Audie Cole and offensive lineman Mark Asper. Wright, Sendejo and Mitchell are recovering from sprained ankles.
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