By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings finish their 2013 season against the Detroit Lions in what will be the last game ever at Mall of America Field. Running back Adrian Peterson wants to be a part of it.
The reigning MVP has been hampered in recent weeks by groin and ankle injuries. There is a perceived shelf life for running backs in their late 20s, especially ones that have over 300 carries in a season (done three times in seven seasons, including his 2012 campaign).
“I’m feeling OK,” Peterson said. “I’ve felt better. My body has been able to rest a little bit. I’m trying to push to Sunday.”
Peterson hasn’t been a full participant in over three weeks, including in Thursday’s practice as a limited participant.
“With a couple of 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,” Peterson said. “Stay tuned. Right now my mindset is to be out there and finish strong with my teammates.”
Peterson had just 11 carries for 45 yards and one reception for two yards. He carried the ball for 11 yards on the Vikings first offensive play of the second half, but did not return to the game afterward.
“The foot was a pain that I already had set in my mind that I was going to have to deal with,” Peterson said. “Sometimes when I was pushing off, I felt it. I got tackled a couple of times and twisted up and the 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.”
Peterson is currently third in the NFL in rushing with 1,266 yards, despite being slowed by a hamstring injury along with the groin and ankle injuries.
Other injury news
Peterson’s backup, Toby Gerhart, re-aggravated a hamstring injury on the Vikings third offensive play of the game against the Bengals. He has become a long shot to play in Sunday’s game.
The team got a boost when rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) practiced for a second consecutive day on Thursday. He has missed the last two games due to the injury suffered against the Baltimore Ravens. If healthy, Rhodes is expected to match up against Calvin Johnson, but head coach Leslie Frazier needs to see which cornerbacks are healthy before deciding on the starters.
The Complete injury Report
The Vikings listed linebacker Audie Cole (ankle), Gerhart (hamstring), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (quadriceps) and cornerback Shaun Prater (ankle) as non-participants in Thursday’s practice.
The team listed running back Matt Asiata (ankle), cornerback Chris Cook (knee), linebacker Larry Dean (knee), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee), Peterson (groin/foot), Rhodes (ankle) and safety Harrison Smith (foot/groin) as limited participants in Thursday’s practice.
The team listed fullback Jerome Felton (knee), guard Brandon Fusco (knee), wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (chest) and cornerback Marcus Sherels (shoulder) as full participants in Thursday’s practice.
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.