"It's hard to say right now. He hasn't been on hard land yet," Childress said.
Chester Taylor resumed his role as the featured back and rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday in a victory over Oakland with Peterson watching from the sideline, so the Vikings (4-6) don't have a reason to rush their rookie back on the field.
Peterson, who still leads the league by a wide margin with 1,081 yards rushing, was injured in the third quarter of the Nov. 11 game against Green Bay on a tackle by Packers cornerback Al Harris that caused his lateral collateral ligament to tear. The LCL is the least critical of the four knee ligaments.
Peterson has spent "literally, six to eight hours a day" in the training room since then, Childress said. He'll have to spend at least some time in practice before being cleared for action in a game, so it's likely he won't return until some time in December.
"I'd say it's a long shot right now to get back there, but we'll see," said Childress, who added that Peterson had surprised him before. Childress noted that Peterson has begun to get used to wearing a brace on his knee.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press