EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Adrian Peterson's injured groin has robbed him of some the explosiveness that makes him the best running back in the league, and the Minnesota Vikings have been all but eliminated in the playoff picture with six games to go.
As long as there's even a sliver of a chance for the Vikings (2-8) to turn things around, Peterson isn't giving even a moment's thought to taking a seat. Peterson said he plans to play on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers and is spending this week doing whatever it takes to get as close to 100 percent as he can for the game.
Peterson said he didn't think his injury was that severe, and that with a little rest this week he would be good to go by game time. Given that the Vikings are buried in the NFC North, Peterson was asked what he would do if coach Leslie Frazier and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman came to him to recommend he sit out a week.
"I'd look at them crazy," Peterson said Thursday. "I'd be like, 'Well, I know my body and I'm not going to do anything to hurt myself. Just trust me.'"
The Vikings also expect to get receiver Greg Jennings back after he was a scratch on Sunday against Seattle with a sore Achilles tendon. Jennings returned to practice Thursday and said he would definitely play against his former team at Lambeau Field.
"The way it felt, it was definitely concerning," Jennings said. "I think we took the proper precautions to wait it out and see how we felt. The training staff did an awesome job and it's all good now."
There is no arguing that Peterson's body has held him back the last few weeks. He's topped 100 yards only once in the last six games and said he knew early in the loss to Seattle that his groin wouldn't let him hit the extra gear that separates him for most running backs. That much was apparent on an early outside run when Peterson couldn't get the burst that he normally has to blow through the secondary.
"It wasn't frustrating. It was just disappointing," Peterson said. "The main thing was to be out there helping my team. I was out there putting my best foot forward. But there were a couple of plays where I was like, 'Wow, if I had that explosion, it would be a different turnout.'"
Peterson finished with 65 yards on 21 carries in the 41-20 loss. But he's not giving up on himself or the Vikings season. Minnesota has not been mathematically eliminated yet, and the ever-optimistic Peterson is conceding nothing.
"In my eyes, I don't know how you all think, but I still think we've got a chance," Peterson told the assembled media. "Call me crazy. But I still feel like we have an opportunity. That's the way I'm going to approach this week and the rest of the season."
Peterson said he likes the competitiveness that his teammates have shown even during the tough times, which is what helps him separate this season from 2011, when the listless Vikings went 3-13.
"I have faith in the guys in this locker room," Peterson said. "When I look in these guys' eyes, when I'm on the field with them, they're playing their hearts out. They're out there competing. I don't see guys quitting."
Frazier is hoping that belief is contagious.
"You'd like for more guys to feel that way and just fight as hard as we can and just get a win this week and try to build on that," Frazier said. "But if you don't have any hope, it can be difficult, especially if things aren't going right early. I hope some of that rubs off on the rest of the team."
Peterson has watched the New York Giants rebound from an 0-6 start to get back in the mix in the muddled NFC East. So until the Vikings are officially eliminated from contention, Peterson is staying positive. It may be incredibly unlikely, but he's hearing none of that.
"Not to look at the end of the tunnel but finishing 8-8, who knows what could happen?" Peterson said. "Six more weeks a lot of things can happen. We've just got to control things that we can control and that's trying to go down to Green Bay this week and get a win."
NOTES: LB Erin Henderson missed practice on Thursday for personal reasons. Frazier seemed doubtful that Henderson will be available against the Packers. If he can't play, Audie Cole would start in the middle. ... C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice. The Vikings were hopeful he'd pass his concussion tests and be cleared for practice on Friday. If not, Joe Berger will start.
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