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Updated: December 1st, 2011 12:45pm
Adrian Peterson still missing explosion, but 'each day I'm improving'

Adrian Peterson still missing explosion, but 'each day I'm improving'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson says he still hasn't regained his explosion and expects to miss another day of practice as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain.

But the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro halfback refused to close the door on playing on Sunday against the Denver Broncos when he spoke with reporters early Thursday afternoon.

"I can sit here and say that each day I'm improving," Peterson said. "The soreness is kind of winding down. I'm getting more movement. I actually ran on it (Wednesday). It felt pretty good. Not a hundred percent, but some steps forward from last week."

Peterson hasn't practiced since suffering the Grade 1 high ankle sprain and ligament damage in his left ankle on Nov. 20 against Oakland.

He initially was listed as doubtful for last weekend's loss at Atlanta, then was downgraded to out after he couldn't participate in the team's Saturday morning walkthrough.

"It was kind of frustrating at first not being able to at least push off," Peterson said. "I tried to run on it last Friday. I took one step and it was downhill from there."

The closest Peterson has come to cutting since the injury was running some figure-eight drills on the side while teammates practiced on Wednesday. He said he "didn't really feel too explosive" but planned to try more strenuous cutting on Thursday, with a decision on his status likely to come on Saturday or perhaps even Sunday morning.

The Atlanta game was only the fourth Peterson has missed in five NFL seasons. He said this high ankle sprain is the second worst he has experienced and the one that cost him parts of four games as a sophomore at Oklahoma in 2005 "was 10 times worse than this one."

The Vikings gave Peterson a contract extension on Sept. 10 that included $36 million in guaranteed money, putting them in a somewhat precarious position with their best player in a season that continues to spiral downward at 2-9.

But coach Leslie Frazier made clear on Wednesday the team won't reduce the snaps of veterans just because of the team's record and Peterson will resume his usual role whenever he's healthy.

Asked if the injury could get worse if he returns too soon, Peterson said, "I think there's a 50-50 chance. It's a possibility it could get worse if I was to play on it, and it's a possibility I could get through the game without damaging more. But I know there will just be a chance, I have to take it if I'm able to go on it."

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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