Adrian Peterson says he'll be 'ready to roll' vs. Bears
NOV 29, 2013 4:34p ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson isn't going to make any big predictions, but he also isn't going to miss a game against the Chicago Bears' league-worst run defense.
Peterson, who is second in the league in rushing with 997 yards, returned to practice for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and is probable for Sunday's home game against Chicago.
Peterson is well off his pace for the 2,500-yard season he predicted in the offseason, but is 3 yards shy of the sixth 1,000-yard season of his seven-year NFL career. In 11 career games against the Bears, he's averaged 107.7 yards per game and Chicago is without defensive four starters from when the two teams met in Week 2.
The Bears (6-5) allowed 258 rushing yards in a 42-21 loss to St. Louis last week and are giving up 145.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry this season.
"I'm not going to take it there," Peterson said Friday when asked if he has a number in mind for rushing yards this week. "We like to emphasize the run and that's what we're going to try and do, go out there and try to establish the run game. I'm not going to make any predictions, just go out and do what it takes to win. So if that's 150, then 150. Whatever it takes to win, that's what we're trying to do. I'm not trying to predict any number, any kind of stats right now."
Minnesota (2-8-1) has listed tight end Kyle Rudolph (broken foot) and cornerback Josh Robinson (fractured sternum) out for Sunday, but is healthier than its been in weeks. Rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Joe Webb passed their concussion testing and are listed as probable after returning to practice Friday.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams (quadriceps), linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) and safety Andrew Sendejo (foot) are all listed as probable after practicing fully Friday. Defensive end Brian Robinson returned to practice after missing Thursday with an illness.
"We're pretty good health wise," coach Leslie Frazier said. "All of those guys that we were counting on at this point are looking pretty good. We're not back to full strength, but we do have a lot of guys that are going to participate who we need to be on the field against a good football team on Sunday afternoon."
Peterson has dealt with a nagging groin injury for three weeks but has played through the injury, including Sunday when he had his biggest game of the season against the Green Bay Packers with season-highs of 32 carries and 146 yards rushing. Peterson, who was named the FedEx ground player of the week Friday for his game at Green Bay, now trials Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy for the league-lead in rushing by just 12 yards.
"It's been a little frustrating at times, dealing with the nagging tightness of the hamstring and the groin, and just being 2-8-1," Peterson said when asked to summarize his season. "But you got to be resilient. You got to stay positive and make the best out of it. As far as my mindset, that's what I'm trying to do. You know, I just continue to put in work, take care of my body and just continue to fight."
Peterson ran for 100 yards on 26 carries in the first meeting in Chicago. The Bears declared linebacker Lance Briggs out for Sunday and have defensive tackle Henry Melton, linebacker D.J. Williams and cornerback Charles Tillman on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Peterson and Toby Gerhart combined to help Minnesota run for a season-high 232 yards last week at Green Bay.
"They're dealing with injuries on all levels; defensive front, linebacker position and as far as the secondary as well," Peterson said. "It's night and day (from Week 2). But still, it's going to come down to executing and protecting the ball, and just handling our business. Those guys on that side of the field, they got jobs to do as well. So they're going to come in and try to stop us and keep us from accomplishing what we're trying to accomplish."
Frazier said Gerhart will get more carries after rushing for 158 yards on 15 carries the past two games.
"I don't know if the numbers will be much more than what they were last week," Frazier said of Gerhart's number of carries. "But getting him on the field for sure with Adrian being where he is health wise. We do need to insert him more often than we do even in the first half not just wait until wait until the second half when Adrian gets tired or gets fatigued."
Rhodes' return is important with Robinson unable to play for a few more weeks and the team releasing A.J. Jefferson this week following an interception. Safety Robert Blanton played slot cornerback in the nickel defense last week and still might find himself there this week, but will share time with Marcus Sherels.
"We're pretty thin in the secondary and playing with a lot of guys that are out of position that you don't really want to play as much as we're having to play them, because it does affect your special teams as well," Frazier said. "So to have Xavier back, that's a big deal. It helps us from a depth standpoint and you're putting a guy at corner who is a corner as opposed to what we're doing with Robert and what we end up having to do with Marcus, who is more of a spot player, not a guy you want to take 60 snaps. So hopefully Xavier will be able to finish the game and play well."
Rhodes also gives Minnesota its preferred set of taller cornerbacks with Chris Cook starting on the other side against Chicago's tall receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
"You feel like you match up a lot better with the size that we have outside and now we've got to go out and execute between the two of them," Frazier said. "You're right, this is kind of what you want for this type of situation."
Harrison Smith returned to practice for the first time since injuring his toe in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers. Smith is on injured reserve with the designation to return. He's first eligible to play Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He really looked pretty good," Frazier said. "I was telling (head athletic trainer) Eric Sugarman a little bit ago that that rule (IR with the designation to return), it's a good rule, but man, I wouldn't mind if could play this week. He moved around well enough where you'd have no qualms putting him in the ballgame. He looked good. So we'll get a chance to look at him next week and hopefully we'll have him the following week to play."
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