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Peterson out at least one game but won't need surgery

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- As Adrian Peterson was prone on the
Lambeau Field turf, his football future flashed before his eyes as
a searing pain radiated from his right knee.

"That pain was horrible. I don't know if you've ever
experienced pain where you don't want anybody to touch you. Just be
still for a few minutes until it calms down. That's the kind of
pain it was," Peterson said. "Not really knowing what to expect
because it was my knee. I was just praying, 'God please, don't let
it be anything serious.'"

He spent a sleepless Sunday night at his home in Eden Prairie,
with the worry getting so great that he found himself doing a
self-examination of both knees to see if he could detect any
differences, all in the hope of finding some comfort.

After getting an MRI exam on Monday, Peterson should be sleeping
much better now.

The rookie sensation, who just a week earlier set the NFL
single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego, will
miss at least one game with a torn lateral collateral ligament. But
the injury is not deemed serious enough to require surgery or
jeopardize Peterson's season.

"I was very relieved. It could've been a lot worse," Peterson
said. "I just thank God. I'll be back soon."

Vikings coach Brad Childress ruled Peterson out for Sunday's
game against Oakland, but wouldn't put a timetable on his recovery
beyond that.

Team doctors told Childress that with ligament tears graded on a
three-point scale, with three being the worst, Peterson's tear is
"two-plus." It's not as serious as an anterior cruciate ligament
tear.

"He's lucky," head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said. "If
he's 30 degrees in front with that foot fixed, we're talking about
a very significant injury today. So he's very lucky that this is
all he has."

Peterson was injured in the third quarter Sunday. Packers
cornerback Al Harris hit him in the knee just as Peterson was about
to make a cut downfield, and he writhed in pain for several minutes
in a scary scene.

"I remember just making my cut, trying to beat one guy, and he
came out of nowhere," Peterson said.

Losing the only offensive star it has will be a devastating blow
to a unit that has struggled in every game Peterson has not topped
200 yards rushing this season. It's been a one-man show in
Minnesota, with Peterson accounting for 1,081 of the team's 1,551
yards rushing and eight of the team's 10 touchdowns rushing.

In addition to making history two weeks ago against the
Chargers, the No. 7 overall draft pick out of Oklahoma was on pace
to smash Eric Dickerson's record for yards rushing by a rookie in a
single season.

Peterson took over for veteran Chester Taylor as the starter
after rushing for 224 yards in a victory over Chicago on Oct. 14.
The Vikings scored 34 points that week, and the only other time
they've topped 30 points in a game this season was in their 35-17
victory over the Chargers two weeks ago.

An unbalanced attack on offense is mostly to blame. The Vikings
rank No. 1 in the NFL in rush offense, but are 31st in passing
offense and have played musical quarterbacks all season.

Brooks Bollinger became the third quarterback to start this
season in Sunday's loss to Green Bay, and Childress said he will go
with Tarvaris Jackson against the Raiders.

With the Packers keyed almost solely on stopping Peterson, the
dazzling runner was limited to 45 yards on 11 carries before he was
hurt. The Vikings had just 17 plays in the first half thanks to
Bollinger's struggles in the passing game, and had no chance after
falling behind 20-0 early in the second half.

"I would just say that I didn't see us play at the level that
we played at the week before," Childress said.

For the immediate future, at least, the Vikings must find a way
to get back to that level without the player who galvanizes them on
offense.

Taylor will jump back into the starter's role until Peterson is
ready to go again. He topped 1,200 yards in his first season as a
starter last season and is averaging 5.0 yards in a backup role
this season.

"He obviously has a track record," Childress said. "He's a
good player as well, so just like I mention to you every week, we
just expect somebody to pick up from there."

The good news for the Vikings is that Peterson won't be gone for
as long as initially feared when replays showed Harris plowing into
the planted leg.

He will have to wear a brace to protect the knee at first,
Sugarman said, but once he regains the ability to cut and plant, he
will be back on the field.

"Adrian's going to be fine," Sugarman said. "He just needs a
little time to heal."