Adrian Peterson (Andy Lyons/Getty)
Adrian Peterson said he’s felt better and was “uncomfortable” Sunday, but he is testing his foot and groin injuries and hoping to play in the finale.
Adrian Peterson was giving no guarantees about his status for Sunday while dealing with groin and foot injuries.
He would say only that he was going to “push to Sunday.”
“I’m feeling OK. I’ve felt better,” he said. “My body has been able to rest a little bit. I’m trying to push to Sunday.”
Peterson first appeared on the injury report on Oct. 17 with a strained hamstring and he stayed there for two weeks, but a groin injury suffered Nov. 13 against the Washington Redskins has had a more lasting impact. It caused him to be listed as questionable for a Nov. 24 game and again on Dec. 8. He played in both of those games, but against Baltimore on Dec. 8 he also suffered a sprained foot when Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown landed on his legs at the end of a tackle.
Peterson missed his first game of the season because of the sprained foot against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 15, saying he was “hot” and “devastated” that he couldn’t talk Vikings coaches and trainers into letting him play.
Both injuries have given him significant pause when on the field.
“The groin I would say more so than the foot. The foot was a pain that I already had set in my mind that I was going to have to deal with,” Peterson said Thursday. “Sometimes when I was pushing off, I felt it. I got tackled a couple of times and twisted up and pain kind of stuck around for a minute. But that’s something I knew I was going to have to deal with. As far as explosion, that kind of hindered me a little bit. The groin as well. So, I felt uncomfortable Sunday.”
He played, but his effectiveness was limited. He rushed 11 times for 45 yards, a 4.1-yard average, before being pulled in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.
Peterson was one of eight players that didn’t practice Tuesday for the Vikings, but he was testing out both the foot and groin injuries on Thursday as the Vikings returned to practice. He was listed as limited on the injury report.
“I’ll be able to test it out. I’ll be able to assess where I’m at and how I feel,” he said before practice. “With a couple more days of rest in front of me I’ll be able to distinguish if I’ll be able to go out there and be productive. Stay tuned. Right now my mindset is to be out there and finish strong with my teammates.”
Head coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson “did some good things” during his limited participation in Thursday’s practice, “so that was encouraging.” However, Frazier said he wanted to see how Peterson looked in Friday’s practice before determining his status for the season finale.
Even if he is able to play Sunday, it will be a difficult task. The Detroit Lions are ranked fourth against the run, giving up an average of 94.8 yards per game. In the regular-season opener, Peterson rushed 18 times for 93 yards against Detroit.
“Stout up front. I would say probably the best defensive front that we’ll face. I found that out Week 1 and those guys have improved,” Peterson said. “With that, that second level, the linebackers, it makes them play well. You can’t double team (Ndamukong) Suh and big (Nick) Fairley. So the linebackers get to run around, they have a lot more freedom. They’re playing pretty good defensively.”
LOOK AT MAUTI?
Rookie linebacker Michael Mauti has played in only 11 defensive plays this season, but the Vikings could take a look at him further in the regular-season finale with no postseason implications on the line.
“We might get Michael in there some and take a look at him. We’ll see how Erin (Henderson) is doing, but we’re practicing Michael as well,” Frazier said.
“He’s done some good things. This offseason is going to be good for him. He came in kind of behind the eight-ball with those two surgeries and bringing him along slowly early on, but the offseason will be big for him.”
Mauti had three surgeries on his anterior cruciate ligaments at Penn State and was worked in slowly with the Vikings. Most of his action this season has been on special teams, but he got some late-game run at the end of the Seattle game and played two snaps each against the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers in October.
Peterson was among four players that didn’t practice Tuesday but participated Thursday on a limited basis, joined by S Harrison Smith (foot/groin), DT Fred Evans (knee) and LB Larry Dean (knee).
The groin injury for Smith is new this week.
“I thought he did a good job,” Frazier said of Smith making his first start after a turf toe injury. “He was a little bit sore after the game, but he came out of the game well. It’s always good to have him back there, just his presence.”
Also limited for the Vikings were RB Matt Asiata (ankle), CB Chris Cook (knee) and CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle).
Rhodes has missed the last two games but appears to be on pace to play Sunday.
“He was able to get out there and went through most of everything we were doing so that was a positive for him with all the time he’s missed,” Frazier said.
CB Shaun Prater, who has filled in as a starter with Cook, Rhodes and Josh Robison out with injuries, suffered an ankle injury Sunday and didn’t practice Thursday. Neither did RB Toby Gerhart, LB Audie Cole and DT Letroy Guion.
Frazier said Gerhart is a longshot to play.
The Lions placed TEs Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) and Dorin Dickerson (concussion) on season-ending injured reserve. Also not practicing Thursday for the Lions were WR Calvin Johnson (knee), LB DeAndre Levy (foot), CB Bill Bentley (concussion), S John Wendling (ankle) and T LaAdrian Waddle (ankle).
S Louis Delmas (knee) and RB Joique Bell (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday, joining DE Israel Idonije (neck) and CB Darius Slay (knee) as limited participants.
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.