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Peterson 'ahead of schedule', runs at Vikings practice

Is Adrian Peterson on his way back?

The Vikings All-Pro running back was seen running off to the side at practice Tuesday, NFL Network's Stacey Dales reported. The 31-year-old went through a battery of tests over the weekend that opened the door for this week's advancement.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was optimistic when asked about Peterson's progress on Tuesday, telling reporters, "He's doing good. He's probably ahead of schedule, I guess."

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted over the weekend that Peterson was on track to make a December return before the playoffs.

Obviously this is good news for the Vikings but perhaps not for Peterson, who will be returning to a much different club than he left a few months ago. The patchwork offensive line he'll be running behind has not produced more than 100 rushing yards since an Oct. 3 win over the New York Giants.

If there is any running back who can navigate such a pitfall, it would be the seven-time Pro Bowler.

The Vikings have been without an offensive identity for months, but when exactly Peterson returns to the field is still a mystery. Running off to the side is a nebulous benchmark for players who may still need a month of rehabilitation. Peterson had surgery for a torn meniscus back in late September.

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