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Updated: November 21st, 2011 12:43pm
Adrian Peterson has high ankle sprain, doubtful for Vikings' next game

Adrian Peterson has high ankle sprain, doubtful for Vikings' next game

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson has a Grade 1 high ankle sprain, leaving him a long shot for the Minnesota Vikings' game on Sunday at Atlanta.

However, coach Leslie Frazier refused to rule out the All-Pro halfback on Monday afternoon, saying Peterson could return to practice as soon as Friday.

"He'll probably be in a boot for the next couple of days," Frazier said. "We'll try to see if he's able to do anything on Friday to determine if he'll be able to play on Sunday or not. So we'll get a better feel at that point where he is.

"The good news is there's nothing more serious than that. The fact that it is an ankle sprain and he'll recover from it. It's just the amount of time that he'll miss. We'll have a better indication towards the end of the week."

Peterson was injured in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Oakland when Raiders safety Michael Huff landed on the side of Peterson's left ankle.

An X-ray showed no fracture and the initial diagnosis was a sprain. An MRI on Monday revealed the more serious high ankle sprain and ligament damage. 

Frazier said Peterson's playing status will be determined by his health, not the team's 2-8 record While a Grade 1 sprain is considered the least severe, though, the Vikings almost certainly won't risk playing Peterson on Sunday.

"We'll monitor it," Frazier said. "We don't want to put him at risk. You know how valuable he is to our team and our franchise. So we'll monitor where he is and try to make a good decision with what's best for him and what's best for our team as well. ...

"You've got to make sure that he's able to protect himself if you get him back on the field. You don't want to put him at risk for obvious reasons. So, we'll be measurable about how we go about it.

"We want to be cautious. But at the same time, you want to be aggressive, but not to the point where he's at risk. So, we'll try to be wise as we're evaluating his progress."

Peterson has missed three games in four-plus NFL seasons because of injury. He sat out two games in 2007 after suffering a Grade 2 tear of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. Peterson missed a game late last season because of a bruised right knee.

Peterson's absence means the Vikings probably would go with Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker as their running backs rather than signing another player, according to Frazier. This makes sense because wide receiver Percy Harvin also can be used out of the backfield.

Gerhart, who has only 24 rushing attempts this season, said he's excited by fact he might finally see substantial playing time.

"(I'd) get a chance to get quite a few carries in the game, hopefully, get a chance to play more and show what I can do," said Gerhart, who had a season-high seven carries for 18 yards on Sunday. "For me I see it as an opportunity, and this week (I'll) prepare like I have any other week. Put in the work, maybe watch a little extra film, do a couple of little things like that. But work hard and be ready to play on Sunday."

Frazier said tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Visanthe Shiancoe suffered injuries on Sunday, too.

Rudolph bruised his quadriceps and will be day-to-day. Shiancoe strained his hamstring. He has been dealing with a hamstring issue for much of this season.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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