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Updated: December 18th, 2011 10:51am
Adrian Peterson returns for Vikings after three-game absence

Adrian Peterson returns for Vikings after three-game absence

by Judd Zulgad
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder both were active for the Minnesota Vikings game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Peterson had missed the past three games because of a high ankle sprain, and Ponder was clearly impacted last week at Detroit because of a hip injury.

Cornerback Cedric Griffin started 12 of the Vikings' first 13 games and the only time he did not start before Sunday was because of disciplinary reasons.

On Sunday, Griffin did not start for performance reasons.

Lifted in the first quarter of last Sunday's loss at Detriot in the first quarter after Lions wide receiver Titus Young went right past him on a 57-yard touchdown reception, Griffin remained on the sideline Sunday.

Benny Sapp, who replaced Griffin in Detroit, got the start.

The move doesn't come as a surprise, given Griffin has struggled this season after tearing the ACL in both knees over the past two years.

Griffin expressed anger in Detroit after being benched, so this move likely won't sit well with him.

The Vikings inactives Sunday included cornerback Chris Cook; safety Andrew Sendejo; linebacker Xavier Adibi; center Brandon Fusco; offensive tackle DeMarcus Love; tight end Allen Reisner; and defensive tackle D'Aundre Reed.

All were healthy scratches.

The Saints inactives included cornerback Leigh Torrence; running back Mark Ingram (toe); linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee); tackle William Robinson; tight end Michael Higgins; wide receiver Adrian Arrington; and defensive end Turk McBride (ankle).

Ingram and Casillas were declared out on Friday. Jonathan Vilma (knee) and McBride were listed as questionable.

Peterson leads the Vikings with 872 yards and has never rushed for fewer than 1,000 yards in a season since entering the NFL in 2007. He entered Sunday with 6,654 rushing yards in his career, putting him 164 yards behind Robert Smith's franchise record of 6,818.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 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