Brad Childress Brad Childress

Adrian Peterson Likely to Return Sunday

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Adrian Peterson had an MRI Monday which showed “excellent healing” according to Brad Childress. So, if AD has a good week of practice, he is expected to play Sunday at home against the Lions.

The Vikings‘ world has of course changed since Peterson went down in the Green Bay game. The team has ripped off two victories, and Chilly has gone from being a lame-duck coach who’d lost the locker room to a veritable Belichick-like genius. And Chester Taylor re-asserted himself as a #1-type running back by having a huge day against Oakland. What this means is that, though the Vikings would love to have Adrian in the fold, they shouldn’t feel like their fortunes rest entirely on his shoulders.

A still-recovering, brace-wearing Peterson will obviously not get the same workload he received earlier in the year, when he took over for Chester as the starting tailback. But, even if he only gets 10-15 carries/game the rest of the year, he should still have a good chance to lead the league in rushing. He’s missed two full games, plus much of the Packer debacle, yet he’s still ahead of Willie Parker by 75 yards. He should win Rookie of the Year just by virtue of what he’s already done, but it wouldn’t hurt him, or the Vikings, to add a couple more big games to his resume.

As to the team themselves…they’ve got a lot more at stake down the stretch than it appeared they would when Adrian went down. The wild-card has become a distinct possibility, what with Detroit floundering, and few other clear contenders arising from the swamp of mediocrity that is the NFC outside Green Bay and Dallas. The biggest thing the Vikes have going for them, besides home games against weak division opponents Detroit and Chicago, is the tie-breaker they hold over the Giants by virtue of Sunday’s win. Of course, as optimistic as we may suddenly be, we can’t help remembering Viking stumbles of the past. They were in contention in 2005 after their epic 6-game winning streak, but coughed it up against Pittsburgh and Baltimore. And then there was 2003, when they entered the last game of the year against lowly Arizona with a chance to make the playoffs, and had their hearts broken by that memorable QB/WR combo Josh McCown and Nathan Poole. No, we never forget those things.