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Vikings add RB Hillman as Peterson opts for surgery

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will have surgery Thursday, Sept. 22, to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and could be out the rest of the season.

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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball and is injured on the play during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers Sept.18 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will have surgery Thursday, Sept. 22, to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and could be out the rest of the season.

The Vikings also put left tackle Matt Kalil on injured reserve. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he will have surgery on his hip and could be out for the year.

The Vikings' offense already is without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was lost for the season with a knee injury at the end of the preseason.

The Vikings signed running back Ronnie Hillman, who rushed for 863 yards last season with Denver, to take Kalil's spot on the roster. Zimmer said Jerick McKinnon will start for Peterson in Sunday's game at Carolina and T.J. Clemmings will take over for Kalil.

Peterson was injured late in the third quarter of the Vikings' 17-14 victory over Green Bay last Sunday night in the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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"It could be season ending," Zimmer said. "It could be three weeks, four weeks.''

Peterson, though, told ESPN he has what is called a "bucket handle tear." ESPN reported that the minimum recovery time for that is three to four months.

If it's on the shorter end of that, Peterson, could return late in the regular season, which ends Jan. 1, and possibly for the playoffs.

Zimmer said much will depend on what the doctor sees during surgery.

"He has to make a decision on whether to repair it," Zimmer said. "It depends on how bad the meniscus is."

Zimmer said the Vikings must have a next-man-up mentality to overcome the losses of Peterson and Kalil.

"We're not the type of team that's going to sit back and cry about what's happened," Zimmer said. "I know everybody is all concerned about we don't have this, we don't have that. But this is a team game.''

Guard Alex Boone said newly acquired quarterback Sam Bradford having stepped in so well for Bridgewater gives the the Vikings confidence that they can overcome the losses of Peterson and Kalil. Bradford completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers.

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"It's the NFL," Boone said. "Bad things happen all the time. You just got to get over it and move on.''

Speaking before it was announced Kalil was placed on injured reserve, Bradford said the team must come together to overcome the loss of Peterson.

"Obviously, it's hard to replace a player like Adrian," Bradford said. "He's the best running back in the NFL. It's just the next man up."

Zimmer said the Vikings have overcome odds before against them.

"I don't think many people think we can win (Sunday at Carolina)," he said. "I don't many people thought we could win the last game."

Peterson, the 2015 NFL rushing champion, got off to a very slow start this season, rushing for just 50 yards on 31 carries in two games.

Zimmer said it's too early to say whether Hillman eventually could be the starter. In Denver's 23-20 win last year over Minnesota, Hillman carried 11 times for 103 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run.

"I don't know anything about him other than he signed (Wednesday)," Zimmer said. "We played him last year. I have no idea.''

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