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Why consider playing Peterson again this year?

Perhaps it's just me, but it seems that the NFL body count gets critical earlier and earlier every year.

Among the more noteworthy injuries Sunday was Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (torn knee ligament).  In a normal season when Tom Brady wasn't having the best year of any quarterback since the touchdown was invented, Peterson (right) would have been an MVP candidate. Other marquee players to go down last week were Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot/ankle), Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor (ankle), Redskins safety Sean Taylor (sprained knee) and another rookie running back who was having a good year, the Bills' Marshawn Lynch, who suffered an ankle injury but may be able to play Sunday against New England.

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The team reaction to Peterson's injury was stunning. In one breath, the Vikings announced that Peterson has a torn lateral collateral ligament but then head coach Brad Childress implied that Peterson might play again this season.

We're not going to play doctor here but let's go on what we know.  The injury apparently won't require surgery and it's not the more problematic anterior cruciate ligament. But it's still a knee ligament, and it's torn. The Vikings are 3-6 and Peterson is a running back on which you build a franchise.  There's also a backup in place named Chester Taylor, whom Ravens fans are familiar with and could easily carry the load down the stretch for Minnesota. Where's the decision here? Doesn't Peterson have to sit out for the season? I'm not the only one who's wondering.

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Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

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