Adrian Peterson on if he'll be ready for Week 1

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Adrian Peterson on if he'll be ready for Week 1

From Comcast SportsNet
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -- The NFL season starts for Minnesota on Sept. 9, barely eight months after Adrian Peterson had reconstructive surgery on his ripped-up left knee. Despite the medical advances that have made comebacks from anterior cruciate ligament quicker than ever, Peterson's return for the opener against the Jaguars was always on an optimistic timetable. But for the star Vikings running back, that hasn't really been a goal. Belief is more like it. "Despite what everyone else had to say, that was my vision," said Peterson, who also tore the medial collateral ligament when he was hit during a game last Dec. 24 at Washington. "I knew it was going to be a journey, a path, to get closer to that vision, and I'm closer. I see it. It's closer now. It was far away in the beginning, but I've been working hard and just moving forward. "So hopefully here in a couple weeks -- here in a couple weeks, not hopefully -- that vision will be right there in front of me in my lap." Peterson has cleared every hurdle in his rehabilitation either ahead of time or on schedule. As nervous as the Vikings must be -- and as skeptical as some observers around the league might be -- he is probably as capable as anyone of taking the ball right at his tacklers without hesitation in Week 1. "You don't really want to put parameters on his rehabilitation. You want to just let it go and see where it takes us," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Our medical staff talked all along about what this process would look like and what's necessary. We're in that process right now, so we still have to take it day by day." Despite the evolution of the league into a passing-dominated game, Peterson is far too valuable for Minnesota (No. 29 in AP Pro32) to risk him getting hit the wrong way in some meaningless drill. He wore full pads in Tuesday's practice for the first time since his injury, but Frazier went out of his way to warn the defense not to touch him. On Peterson's first carry, he realized this wasn't going to be a normal play. "These guys are definitely not going to put their hands on me. I didn't really like that too much," he said. The defensive players light-heartedly complained to their coach that Peterson is usually the one delivering the punishing hits. "One of the things they told me was, Coach, you know how he runs. What about protecting us?' Frazier said. "He's not going to change his running style, we all know that, but they have to be smart out there and they know that." Peterson smiled when asked if he'd be letting up at all. "Oh, I'm going to lower my shoulder," he said. "Those guys are probably going to get tired of touching off and tired of me putting my shoulder into them. They'll start firing back, which is pretty much what I want them to do." His first contact will come later this month, maybe in practice next week or in the team's third preseason game Aug. 24 against San Diego. As offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave put it, Peterson "has to go through the mental gymnastics as well as the physical part." So far, so good. "We're all just amazed seeing him move and even cutting like he's always done," Frazier said, recalling a video review at the start of training camp of some offensive highlights from last season that included Peterson before he got hurt: "I came up to him and said, Can you see yourself in your mind being able to do that again?' He said, Coach, I can do that right now if you let me.' In his mind, there's nothing wrong."

Raiders could play in Oakland through 2019, 'if fans would like us to stay'

Raiders could play in Oakland through 2019, 'if fans would like us to stay'

PHOENIX – The Raiders were approved to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas on Monday by a 31-1 vote of NFL owners.

That doesn’t mean they’re leaving anytime soon. The Raiders plan to play two, possibly three more seasons in the East Bay before heading out of town.

The Raiders have one-year team options to play at the Oakland Coliseum for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and plan to exercise them both while their Las Vegas stadium is being constructed.

Their new stadium won’t be ready for football until 2020, leaving a limbo year in 2019 without a temporary venue.

“If the fans would like us to stay there,” Davis said, “we’d love to be there for that and possibly talk to them about extending it for maybe 2019 as well and try to bring a championship back to Oakland.”

The Raiders are staying in the Bay Area because the Las Vegas area does not have a suitable venue to host NFL games. Sam Boyd Stadium hosts UNLV games, but would need upgrades, especially to the locker rooms and stadium security to host Raiders regular season games. There are talks of the Raiders playing a preseason game there in coming years.

The Raiders could play the 2019 season at other Bay Area venues, including Cal’s Memorial Stadium and Levi’s Stadium. Davis has been adverse to playing in the 49ers’ home park, but may be willing to using it as a temporary venue.

Much of that depends on fan reaction to permanent Vegas relocation. If attendance is down or fans are hostile, the Raiders could look elsewhere for temporary digs outside the Bay Area as soon as 2018 by sprucing up Sam Boyd. The Raiders need to build a practice facility in Nevada as well before moving there permanently.

If fans continue to support a rising squad expected to compete for a division and conference titles over the next few seasons, then the Raiders could stay put.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the Silver and Black will be the Oakland Raiders as long as they play in the Bay Area. The Raiders would like to stay there a while, though they can bail if things don’t work out.

“We’re still the Oakland Raiders and we are the Raiders and we represent the Raider Nation,” Davis said. “As I said earlier there’s going to be some disappointed fans and angry fans. It’s going to be up to me to talk to them and let them know why, how and what has happened. Hopefully we can work things out and work together for the future.”

Davis said any season ticket holders jilted by this move can receive refunds on deposits already paid.

“If any fans who have given season ticket deposits want refunds, we’d be happy to do that,” Davis said. “Well, not happily, but we would do so absolutely.”

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

SAN JOSE – All four of the Sharks’ lines have been in a blender for much of the season. 

Now, with Logan Couture out for at least one game and probably longer, and Micheal Haley getting tagged with a one-game suspension, the coaching staff has no choice but to mix and match the remaining forwards in time for Tuesday’s home game with the Rangers.

They’ll hope it’s the right recipe to snap out of what has been a miserable six-game losing streak in regulation, including the last two in which the Sharks have been outscored 13-3 by Dallas and Nashville.

The most notable player to be shifted is Patrick Marleau, who will apparently be centering the second line against New York. It will be just the fifth game he starts at center this season, and first since Feb. 11 in Philadelphia, when he was filling in for an ill Couture.

Marleau, of course, has played plenty of center of the years, including the second half of last season and first handful of playoff games when he was in the middle of the third line.

“I don’t think there’s been a year where I haven’t played center, so it’s just one of those things, move in and out,” Marleau said. “We’re interchangeable throughout the whole lineup, anyway.”

Marleau has been among the Sharks’ better players lately, with three of the team’s last five goals. He has 26 goals on the season, third on the team, and is fifth on the Sharks in points with 44.

“Patty is playing great. I don’t think we could ask for more from him,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “Arguably a lot of nights this year he’s been our best forward. He’s playing hard, he’s playing strong. He’s been a real valuable piece for us. We wouldn’t be in the spot we’re in this year without him and the way he’s played this year.”

Marleau is set to skate with Melker Karlsson and Mikkel Boedker, as Karlsson is good to go after missing the last eight games with a lower body injury. The 26-year-old Swede is having a nice season with 19 points (9g, 10a) in 60 games.

The third line featured Tomas Hertl between Joel Ward and Marcus Sorensen, while Chris Tierney will center the fourth line with Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi.

Karlsson, who confirmed he was ready to return, said: “Cooch is out, and we’ll see how long he’s going to be out, but I’ll do my best. I’m going to work hard, and hopefully can get going here.”

Marleau described Karlsson as “tenacious on the forecheck, causes a lot of turnovers. He’s hungry on that puck. He’s going to get his opportunities, and I’m sure he’ll put a few in the back of the net.”

* * *

Of course, the Sharks don’t care who scores the goals, just as long as it’s someone. It’s been a season-long issue for them to get their depth scorers to do more, and if they want any chance at reclaiming first place in the Pacific Division while Couture is out, that will be a necessity.

Among the players that will bring their scoring woes into Tuesday’s game will be Donskoi (no points 13 games), Hertl (no points in 12 games), Boedker (no points in 10 games), Ward (no points in six games), Sorensen (one assist in 10 games) and Tierney (one goal in 12 games).

Could Couture’s absence be a wake up call for those guys?

“I would hope it doesn’t take an injury to get that. That’s something we’re looking for, it’s something we’ve challenged the group to get more out of them,” DeBoer said. 

“They’re the first guys to recognize they’ve got to give us a little bit more. That’s been an ongoing process. The good news is they’ve all done it before. I feel that they all have the ability to raise their level another notch here before the playoffs. I think they have enough character that we’ll see that.”

Time is growing short, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in a little more than two weeks.

Marleau said: “When you go into playoffs, [secondary scoring] is usually what makes a difference. We need everybody contributing and guys stepping up at different times. We know that in this room, and guys are looking forward to doing that.”