Adrian Peterson (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)
Adrian Peterson is still holding out hope of playing on Sunday. Despite saying his sprained ankle is the second-worst of his career, he also said it felt 'pretty good' on Thursday.
The waiting game continues.
Very few Vikings fans believed Adrian Peterson would play last week after suffering a painful high ankle sprain against the Raiders the previous week. He didn’t practice all last week and was ruled out of the game on Saturday. In the second week of the injury, it seems as though we’ve heard this song before.
Peterson didn’t practice again Thursday, but said there is improvement that he is seeing. He still isn’t there yet, but said he is getting closer to returning to the lineup and trying to help salvage the final five games of the season.
“I’m still taking it one day at a time to see how the progress is comes along,” Peterson said. “I can stand here and say each day it’s improving. The soreness is winding down, I’m getting more movement and actually ran on it yesterday and it felt pretty good. It’s not 100 percent, but it’s a step forward from last week.”
He said his progress is being measured in small increments – he started running Wednesday, planned to more Thursday, and Friday will likely be the make or break day as to whether he can play or not.
“I’m going to cut a little today,” Peterson said before practice. “I didn’t do too much cutting yesterday. I just did drills, which isn’t cutting, but putting pressure on it at an angle and it felt OK.”
While he continues to push it a little more each day, he still hasn’t joined the team for practice.
The big question facing Peterson is whether he can be close enough to his usual self that he can be effective, while not making the injury worse. Unlike a hamstring or shoulder injury, Peterson doesn’t believe he will make the high ankle sprain worse by playing on it, although he expects to find out Saturday if he will play or not. He was listed as doubtful last week, although he admitted he knew almost immediately when trying to push his injured left ankle Friday that he had no chance of playing. Eventually the team told him to stay home and rest instead of flying to Atlanta last week. He’s more optimistic about this week, but said he doesn’t think he can make the injury worse unless he suffers a similar sprain.
“I think there’s a 50/50 chance it could get worse if I play on it,” Peterson said. “If my ankle got caught up again, it would pretty much be the same damage. I don’t really think you can do that much more damage to a high ankle sprain.”
Peterson said he’s no stranger to ankle sprains. He said he’s had similar injuries two or three times, the worst when he was at Oklahoma. Peterson said that injury was “10 times worse” than this one and, even then, he only missed four games.
He said shutting it down and being placed on injured reserve isn’t a consideration. He hopes to return as soon as he can, but said, as it currently stands, he simply doesn’t know how things will shake out for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
“It will probably be a game-time decision,” Peterson said. “Tomorrow or Saturday, just trying to be a realist, I’ll be able to know whether I can go or I can’t go.”
Asked it he would play if he was less than 100 percent, Peterson just smiled and said he doesn’t need to be in top health to play.
“I don’t have to be 100 percent,” Peterson said. “I’ve played several times at less than 100 percent. If I feel I can go, I can help the team and be productive, I’m rolling.”