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Adrian Peterson, Jones-Drew ready to play Sunday, but how much?

Adrian Peterson is recovering from December knee surgery, while Maurice Jones-Drew is returning from a contract hold out situation. The Jaguars will definitely put Jones-Drew on the field. Adrian Peterson is another story.

By Dave CampbellAssociated Press / September 7, 2012

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson rushes with the ball during NFL football training camp Aug. 14 in Mankato, Minn.

Jerry Holt, The Star Tribune/AP


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Maurice Jones-Drew saw the video clips of Adrian Peterson sprinting up the slope at the edge of Minnesota's practice field, another display of the Vikings star's fierce determination to have his surgically repaired left knee ready in time for the regular season.

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The sight was so stirring for Jones-Drew it catalyzed the end of his holdout from the Jacksonville Jaguars. After all, heavy-load running backs like the two of them can use some company in today's NFL. They've fast become a relic in this pass-driven league.

"Seeing him run those hills, he kind of inspired me to get back at it again," Jones-Drew said, adding: "It shows he has the right mindset and he's ready to go to work. I'm wishing him all the best."

Except, of course, on Sunday when the Jaguars visit the Vikings.

Though Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has squeezed every last cautionary comment out of his lexicon over the past few months, declining to grant final clearance, all signs have pointed to Peterson's participation in the opener. Frazier has stressed his use will be limited behind Toby Gerhart.

"We're going to prepare like he's the guy," Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said, refusing to embrace Frazier's stated plan.

Jones-Drew has found himself in a similar situation. During training camp, while the Vikings were trying to hold Peterson back from overdoing his rehabilitation, Jones-Drew was holding out. He reported to the Jaguars last weekend, seven days ahead of the first game. Mularkey has said Jones-Drew will play, but in a third-down role behind Rashad Jennings.

"We're preparing as if he is going to play a lot. He's a guy you definitely don't want to ignore on the football field," Frazier said, expressing the same skepticism.

Try to find two running backs in the league right now more valuable to their teams.

Over the last five seasons, Peterson and Jones-Drew rank first and second in the NFL in each of these categories: yards rushing, total touchdowns and total yards from scrimmage. During that same span, the Vikings are first (139.4) and the Jaguars (131.3) are third in the league in average yards rushing per game. The Carolina Panthers are second.

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