Adrian Peterson (Scott Halleran/Getty)
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice Friday as he tries to chase down Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Plus, the Vikings are lighting up the town purple and we update the other injuries heading into Sunday's regular-season finale against the Packers.
Adrian Peterson returned to Vikings practice for the first time this week, ready for the final opportunity to chase down Eric Dickerson’s all-time single-season rushing record while attempting to put the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Peterson didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday because of abdominal soreness and has been taking more mid-week practices off later in the season as the coaching staff attempts to reduce the wear and tear on his body.
Peterson said he pulled himself for the last drive-and-a-half of last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans because he felt backup Toby Gerhart was in a better position to finish off the final scoring drive with a touchdown, which he did. But head coach Leslie Frazier said he didn’t think he would need to limit Peterson against the Green Bay Packers.
“We’ll know a little bit more after we go through some of pregame, and talking with him some after practice briefly (on Friday) he feels pretty good,” Frazier said. “He feels better than he did last Friday at this time, so I don’t think we have to go into it thinking about limiting his carries or anything like that. I think we go full speed ahead. That’s what he wants. The doctors are telling me he’s ready to go.”
Peterson has 1,898 yards rushing this season and needs 208 more to break Dickerson’s record, set in 1984. The last time the Vikings played the Packers, on Dec. 2, Peterson rushed for 210 yards. Last week, when he rushed for 86 yards against the Texans, was the first time in nine games that Peterson didn’t rush for at least 100 yards, a span in which he eclipsed the 200-yard mark twice.
Peterson said Thursday he believes he can break the record Sunday against the Packers, and Friday he said the single-season mark is the record he most wants to break in his career.
“Obviously, everyone’s aware of where he is, everyone’s aware of the type of back he is,” Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said this week. “Can he get it done? Yeah, he can get it done. Unfortunately, he’s going against our defense this week. We don’t really want that to happen. Is he deserving of it? Of course he’s deserving of it. He’s definitely the best back I’ve seen in my life. He definitely deserves to get the record, but it’s an unfortunate situation.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Thursday the only player on the injury report that was still in question for Sunday’s game was DE Brian Robison. Peterson and CB Antoine Winfield (knee/hand), both of whom didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, are expected to play.
MINNEAPOLIS GOES PURPLE
Minneapolis political and transportation leaders are getting behind the Vikings’ playoff push, lighting the Target HQ Tower, the Lowry Avenue Bridge and the 35W bridge purple beginning at sunset Friday. Minneapolis will continue its purple theme throughout the weekend by lighting the structures again on Saturday and Sunday nights.
“The support for our Minnesota teams is always there, but we thought this was a special opportunity to get behind the Vikings given the ‘win and we’re in’ situation on Sunday,” Minneapolis Downtown Council President Mark Stenglein said in a release. “We want to help rally our community for a win over Green Bay.”
If the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday, they will be in the playoffs.
The Vikings are also placing “rally towels” on every seat at Mall of America Field for Sunday’s game, which was moved from a noon start to 3:25 p.m. Central as part of the NFL’s “flex scheduling” option to attract a bigger national television audience.
CB Antoine Winfield was held out of practice Friday because of broken bone in his hand, but he said besides that and a knee injury he has been dealing with for several weeks, his body feels better than it ever has this late in the season because of the mid-week rest he has been getting. Winfield will play with extra padding and a wrap on his hand.
Frazier said he will wait to make a decision on the availability of Robison, who his dealing with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder. “We put him through some more things today. We had Brendan Daly, our D-line coach, put him through a little bit more,” Frazier said. “… Then we’ll come back tomorrow and see how sore he is, or lack of soreness.”
Robison and Winfield are the only Vikings listed as questionable. All others – DE Jared Allen (illness/shoulder), P Chris Kluwe (knee), RT Phil Loadholt (knee), CB Marcus Sherels (quadriceps), LB Marvin Mitchell (illness) and Peterson are probable.
LT Matt Kalil was fined $10,000 for striking an opponent late when he hit a Houston Texan after the play Sunday.
Texans CB Kareem Jackson was fined $21,000 for striking a defenseless player (WR Jarius Wright) in the head and neck area.
Texans S Danieal Manning was fined $10,000 for his facemask on Wright.
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.