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Updated: January 2nd, 2013 1:19pm
Adrian Peterson says he's not wearing down, 'could play 12 more games'

Adrian Peterson says he's not wearing down, 'could play 12 more games'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson has averaged 28.5 carries over the past four games, despite battling an abdominal strain that has limited his practice work.

According to Peterson, though, the Minnesota Vikings shouldn't have any qualms about giving him another heavy load in Saturday's wild-card playoff game at Green Bay.

"I get in the cold tub, do (treatment) to try to take care of my body throughout the week during the season, and it's been working," Peterson said on Wednesday. "I can say I feel good. My body feels great. I could play for 12 more games if I had to. Seriously."

Peterson set a career high with 31 carries for 154 yards on Dec. 9 against Chicago and appeared on the injury report with the abdominal issue the following week.

He rushed 24 times for 212 yards on Dec. 16 at St. Louis and 25 times for 86 yards a week later at Houston before dropping out of the latter game because of the injury.

That didn't stop him from breaking his career mark again with 34 carries for 199 yards in Sunday's win over Green Bay -- the Vikings' fourth straight win, propelling them into the playoffs.

Peterson didn't practice on Tuesday but said on Wednesday he's "(n)ot sore at all, outside of what I've been battling for the past six weeks. But my body, my knee, my shoulders -- everything feels good."

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the Vikings "(m)ost definitely" are concerned about overworking Peterson, although he gave no indication they'll ease off him with their season on the line again on Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

"He takes care of himself there in the training room," Musgrave said. "He's always lifting. But he's getting good treatment there with our training staff and making sure he rests up so he can be ready to roll each weekend."

Peterson's 348 carries this season were the second-most of his career behind 2008, when he carried the ball 363 times. He finished with 2,097 rushing yards, by far the most in the NFL and 8 short of Eric Dickerson's single-season record.

On Dec. 2 at Green Bay, Peterson rushed for 210 yards on 21 carries, meaning the Packers -- who finished the regular season ranked 17th in run defense, allowing 118.5 yards per game -- have hemorrhaged 409 to him alone on 7.4 yards per carry.

"We're definitely going to establish the run (on Saturday), and that starts up front, with the guys out wide contributing as well, and just being balanced," Peterson said. "I feel like if we can continue to be balanced like last week, then you can't really crowd the box. If you do, we're going to go over your head."

Peterson even said he'd ask coaches to give him a chance to return a kickoff in a critical situation. He has a 25.2-yard career average on 17 kickoff returns but hasn't had an opportunity since 2008.

"I'm in it to win," Peterson said. "... I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times. You never know what can happen. That's what I would do."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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