The obvious top story from yesterday afternoon's practice was Adrian Peterson's return to the field in full pads for the first time since tearing two ligaments in his knee on Christmas Eve last year. Not too far behind was a man in the crowd that resembled KISS lead singer Gene Simmons. Whether it was or wasn't the rock star hasn't been confirmed, but even Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave did a double take and walked over to the look alike. When he returned to the offensive huddle, he had every player looking over to see if it really was the rock-n-roll hall of famer. Musgrave even called to Tom West, head of media relations to ask him if the guy with a front row seat was the real deal.
AP returns, untouched:
Head Coach Leslie Frazier made sure his defense knew that Adrian was not to be touched on the field. That fact didn't set well with either party. On his first carry during team drills, AP took the handoff and sprinted off left tackle, darting past defenders as they ran the other way to avoid contact. The rep drew a boisterous response from safety Jamarca Sanford as he gestured to the crowd to make noise for a back that hadn't been touched.
"I really wasn't listening to what he (Sanford) had to say," said Peterson when asked if he heard his teammate. "He's always running his mouth. There's no telling what he had to say."
Peterson had about 10 carries on his first day back. He admits he is hungry for more, but also understands the bigger picture.
"They're slowly getting me back into the groove of things," said Peterson. "I'm going to trust in them and just make sure I'm out there executing when they call my number."
Christian Ponder continued to struggle in 11-on-11 situations. His first pass attempt was nearly intercepted by linebacker Erin Henderson. He had several other misfires intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph that were nearly intercepted by linebacker Chad Greenway and safety Mistral Raymond.
Ponder did connect with wide receiver Jerome Simpson on a deep touchdown after Simpson ran by cornerback Antione Winfield and safety Harrison Smith.
Today is the final day of camp in Mankato. Following the afternoon practice, the team will break camp and return to Winter Park to finalize preparation for their second preseason game against Buffalo on Friday night at Mall of America Field.