Christian Ponder (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
Two of the Vikings’ most important offensive weapons, RB Adrian Peterson and QB Christian Ponder, are questionable. Peterson hasn’t played the last two weeks and Ponder practiced for the first time Friday. They each talked about their injuries and the progress they’ve made.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was at practice for the second straight day on Friday and was joined for the first time this week by his quarterback, Christian Ponder.
Ponder was throwing the ball and Peterson was running pass patterns and taking handoffs, although neither seemed to be going at full speed. Both are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions – Ponder with a hip pointer suffered last Sunday against the Denver Broncos and Peterson with a high ankle sprain suffered against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 20.
Peterson has missed the last two games, but he continued to test the ankle Friday, despite it being sorer after working on it Thursday.
“One thing I do know, I won’t be cutting as hard as when I’m 100 percent. I would say I’m probably like 80 percent right now,” Peterson said. “That’s a big improvement throughout this week. I feel like I can cut pretty good. I’ve made cuts going both directions, left and right. We just have to wait and see.”
Peterson said once he warmed up and the ankle loosened up during practice, it felt “a whole lot better. I imagine it was my adrenaline built up, so I could just imagine that adrenaline throughout the game and during the game might help me get through some of the pain,” he said.
Despite missing the last two games, Peterson has 872 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He said reaching 1,000 yards is definitely one of the motivational factors to getting back on the field this season.
“It’s motivation. I’m a running back. I have team goals and I have personal goals, also,” he said. “That’s a mark I definitely want to reach, getting past 1,000 yards. If it comes this week and I’m available to play, then it will. If not, then I’ll have to wait until next week. It’ll come.”
Peterson said he would consider taking a painkiller if he’s close to playing.
However, if he had to make the decision to play today, he’s not sure which way he’d lean.
“I don’t know. That’s a tough question. Yesterday I felt pretty good. Yesterday I felt like, shot of something maybe I could go. Today, we’re running on it, it was a little sore because it was my first time (after) really putting work on it and cutting,” Peterson said. “After wear and tear on it, I don’t think I was ready to go, but if the game was today – if the game was yesterday, then I feel like, you know, I think I could have gave it a shot.”
As for Ponder, he seemed to be leaning more toward playing, despite Friday being his first practice of the week. Although he suffered his hip injury in the first half of Sunday’s game, he played the entire game. However, he was clearly showing the effects of the right hip injury this week.
“I’m confident that I’d be able to go. I think it’s a matter of my effectiveness. I don’t know how effective I’ll be,” Ponder said. “I would like to think that that I’ll be playing 100 percent, but I don’t know if that’s 100 percent true. We’ll see.”
While he was out on the field and throwing passes Friday, he was moving gingerly during the early portion of practice. After practice, he stayed and threw additional passes to receivers and appeared to have his normal zip on the ball and was planting and throwing without any noticeable issues.
“I think the biggest thing is that everything is tight (above the hip), so as I’m turning to throw is where it gets sore,” Ponder said.
He has been at the Winter Park practice facility for 11 hours a day, he said, receiving treatment that varies from ultrasound, electronic stems, working on an underwater treadmill, swimming and other treatments.
He said his accuracy hasn’t really been affected.
As for concerns about Detroit’s defensive line targeting his hip?
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised. I think a lot of teams do that, knowing where an area hurts,” he said, but admitted that the Lions don’t typically blitz as much as other teams.
“Their D-line is still good. The good thing about Detroit is they don’t bring a lot of pressure, but if they’ve got an injured quarterback back there, they might be bringing a lot of pressure. I don’t think they’re going to have a problem bringing the heat.”
Like Peterson, Ponder said a painkiller is an option.
Those two were the only Vikings listed as questionable. CB Chris Cook (legal issues) is out. All the other Vikings dealing with injuries – G Steve Hutchinson (illness), Brian Robison (concussion), Asher Allen (shoulder), Chad Greenway (elbow), Everson Griffen (quadriceps), Visanthe Shiancoe (hand), E.J. Henderson (shoulder), Anthony Herrera (knee) and Percy Harvin (finger) – are probable, meaning they are a virtual certainty to play.
For the Lions, DE Lawrence Jackson (thigh) is out and CB Chris Houston and S Louis Delmas (knee) are doubtful. LB Justin Durant (hamstring), DT Nick Fairley (foot) and RB Kevin Smith (ankle) are questionable.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.