The big question coming out of Week 16 in the NFL is, did one fluke play in a meaningless game late in an already terrible season signal the premature decline of one of the games most electrifying playmakers?
On Saturday, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee against the Washington Redskins. He was injured on the first offensive play of the second half on a hit by safety DeJon Gomes.
|Photo by: Getty Images|
Now comes the mental agony. The uncertainty of what's next. The curiosity surrounding the recovery timetable.
Those may be the worst pains of all.
There are a wide range of possibilities here. The most optimistic Vikings fans will gravitate toward the belief that this is merely a minor setback for their star running back. They'll immediately reference Wes Welker, the New England Patriots All-Pro receiver who tore both his ACL and MCL in January of 2010, yet was back playing by the middle of the exhibition season a little over eight months later.
That however, is not the norm.
The pessimist side is packed full of examples that validate the worst case scenario. Daunte Culpepper, Terrell Davis and Jamal Anderson were players whose blown out knees snatched their dynamic abilities right out from under them in the prime of their careers.
Hopefully, Peterson isn't the next guy to make this list.