By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings received a scare in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens when Adrian Peterson was laying on the M&T Bank Stadium turf writhing in pain.
The star running back was given an x-ray at the stadium. The results were negative and Peterson was prepared to re-enter the game. However, he was eliminated from returning when he could not push or run up to his standards on the snow-covered turf.
“It really didn’t swell up too much, so that’s another positive thing,” Peterson said Monday. “But I’m sure it will be sore for a little bit.”
He has since received an MRI and CT Scan, which revealed no fractures or structural damage. Peterson will be hard to convince to take a game off after he persevered through hamstring and groin injuries this season. But with the team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the star running back may need to take some time off to fully heal.
“You want to know exactly how severe the injury is, and it helps you make that kind of a decision,” head coach Leslie Frazier said. “So as we learn more about the severity of it, or the lack of severity, then you can make a clear decision about this ballgame and future ballgames this season.”
Toby Gerhart will receive the bulk of the carries if Peterson is unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field.
However, the backup running back suffered a hamstring strain on his 41-yard touchdown run against the Ravens.
Should both Peterson and Gerhart be unavailable, third-string running back Matt Asiata will be the primary ball carrier. Asiata has three career carries – none this season.
“If Toby is limited and Adrian, for whatever reason, is not able to play, definitely Matt would have to step in, for sure,” Frazier said.
The team has reportedly had running backs in for workouts this week, including undrafted rookie Bradley Randle, who was with the Vikings in training camp and the preseason.
League calls Frazier
The NFL talked to Frazier Monday to discuss the officiating in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.
Frazier did not say what the league specifically told him, but did say “the fact that they called should give you an indication of how they felt about” the game.
The Ravens scored three offensive touchdowns and each drive was started or aided by questionable calls.
The first was a fumble by Toby Gerhart. The Ravens recovered and the play was reviewed. Despite replays showing Gerhart’s knee to have been down before losing the football, Referee Peter Morelli announced that the play stood. The Ravens turned the good field position into their first score of the game.
Then in the fourth quarter madness, Robert Blanton and Chad Greenway were flagged for questionable pass interference penalties that helped the Ravens take a momentary lead and score the game-winning touchdown.
The Vikings currently hold the fourth pick in each round of the 2014 NFL Draft in April. If the season ended today, the Houston Texans would own the top pick followed by the St. Louis Rams (from the Washington Redskins), Atlanta Falcons, Vikings and Oakland Raiders.
A loss to the Eagles would move the Vikings up at least one spot in the draft order with the Redskins and Falcons playing in Atlanta.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.