Three and out: Peterson no lock for Week 1

Peterson’s status still unknown: Fantasy superstar Adrian Peterson is just 19 months removed from major knee reconstruction after suffering a torn ACL in Week 16 of the 2011 campaign. While all reports on his recovery are positive, Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman doesn’t know if A.D. will be back in time for Week 1. “I love Adrian,” Sugarman told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “But let’s make this clear: I’m still not going to be quoted as saying he’s going to play in the first game. That’s not fair. I don’t know that.” Peterson, who has already started to run on land again, has progressed to the point where he is trying to make cuts. Still, fantasy owners need to temper their expectations for the veteran runner. In most cases, it takes time for a back to regain mental and physical confidence after a major knee operation — the facts prove it. So if you do decide to draft Peterson, don’t do it before Round 3 as more than a No. 2 back. And make sure you also grab Toby Gerhart as insurance.

Charles at about 80 percent: Another runner coming off an ACL procedure is Jamaal Charles, who estimates that he’s about “80 percent” healthy. The talented back also expects to be the explosive playmaker we in fantasy land have come to know. “If you’re worried about me not being the same, just look for this year, look out for me and you’ll see,” he said. Because he was injured so early in the season (Week 2), I have a bit more faith in Charles to be closer to what he was than Peterson. But coming off major knee construction, not to mention the presence of Peyton Hillis, makes Charles more of a high-end No. 2 fantasy back heading into next season.

No worries for DeMarco Murray: Speaking at a Cowboys Fan Fest event, Murray said that he is “back 100 percent” from the ankle injury that cut his rookie season short. He’s been working with team strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik during the offseason as he prepares for training camp. Remember, Murray missed most of camp and the preseason last year because of hamstring injuries. When he was on the field, Murray was electric — especially in a game against the St. Louis Rams where he rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards. While injuries are a concern, it’s going to be tough to pass on the Oklahoma product if he’s still on the board in Round 3 of most fantasy re-drafts. Consider him a prime breakout candidate in 2012.

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