MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings fans won't get to see Adrian Peterson on the field until the team's regular-season home opener. They could, however, see quarterback Matt Cassel for the entire first half of the Vikings' second exhibition game on Saturday.
Coach Mike Zimmer said on Thursday that Peterson won't play in the Vikings' game against the Arizona Cardinals, meaning he'll end the home half of the Vikings' preseason schedule without a snap at TCF Bank Stadium. Peterson played one series in the Vikings' third preseason game last year but hasn't logged a carry in the preseason since 2011. If he has any chance to play before the Vikings' Sept. 7 opener in St. Louis, it would seem likely to come in the team's third preseason game next Saturday in Kansas City. It wouldn't be surprising, though, to see Peterson sit that one out, too.
Cassel, however, will get more playing time against the Cardinals, after playing just 10 snaps and leading the Vikings to a game-opening touchdown last week against Oakland. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner had said earlier in the week the Vikings needed to get Cassel more playing time, and it appears that will happen on Saturday.
The 32-year-old is still listed as the top quarterback on the Vikings' depth chart and would seem to be moving closer to winning the job officially. Zimmer said he still has the same date in mind for when he'd want to name a starting quarterback as he did at the end of the Vikings' minicamp in June. But he wasn't sharing that date on Thursday. His advice for rookie Teddy Bridgewater, who went 6-for-13 against the Raiders and has thrown five interceptions in his past two practices, was this: Go out and have fun.
"He's got so much going on in his mind right now. I just want him to play," Zimmer said. "That's what I told him yesterday, and I'm going to tell him again before the ballgame: 'Just go out and play. You've been doing this since you were five-years-old. Go out and play, have some fun. Throw the ball in there, and if you make a mistake, we'll fix it and go on.'"