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Updated: November 23rd, 2011 1:01pm
If Adrian Peterson can't practice Friday, he won't play at Atlanta

If Adrian Peterson can't practice Friday, he won't play at Atlanta

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson's long-shot chances for playing on Sunday will be determined on Friday morning.

The Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro halfback will remain in a walking boot until Thursday to protect his sprained left ankle. If he can't practice on Friday, coach Leslie Frazier said, Peterson will be ruled out for Sunday's game at Atlanta.

"Yeah," Frazier said, "if he can't do anything by Friday, we wouldn't try to go and work him out on Sunday to see if he's ready to go."

Peterson suffered a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and ligament damage in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Oakland and did not return. That's a more serious injury than a regular sprain, and the Vikings' 2-8 record probably eliminated any thoughts about letting Peterson play without practicing.

So, barring a startling recovery, backup Toby Gerhart will take over the starting role against the Falcons, with Lorenzo Booker and receiver Percy Harvin splitting time behind him.

A second-round draft pick in 2010, Gerhart has carried only 24 times for 118 yards (4.9 average) and caught five passes for 61 yards this season. As a rookie last season, Gerhart had double-digit carries in three games, including a career-high 22 for 76 yards (3.5 average) in a Nov. 28 win over Washington after Peterson left with an ankle injury.

"When he had to play a year ago against the Redskins, he showed that he's more than capable," Frazier said. "This could possibly be one of those moments where we'll get extended reps as well. We have confidence in him. It's just he plays behind the best running back in the National Football League."

Ponder on injury report

Rookie Christian Ponder (knee) was a surprise addition on the injury report. He was limited in practice Wednesday but an NFL source said the injury is not a concern and Ponder will be fine to play Sunday.

Neither Ponder nor Frazier disclosed the fact the quarterback was dealing with a knee injury during media access on Wednesday. The two are not made available after the Wednesday practice.

More injuries

Right guard Anthony Herrera returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis and has a chance to play for the first time since suffering damage to the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee on Oct. 23 against Green Bay.

"We're going to try to get him some reps (Wednesday) and see where he is so we can make a decision on whether we can get him in the ballgame or not," Frazier said before practice. "So, we're looking forward to seeing how he moves around."

Herrera is simply trying to get back into the swing of things. "Just being out for so long, anytime you come back in there's always going to be the little small stuff that you've got to get back into," Herrera said after practice.

Meanwhile, the Vikings may be facing a shortage at tight end. Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) and Kyle Rudolph (quadriceps) didn't practice on Wednesday, and Frazier confirmed the team has talked about promoting undrafted rookie Allen Reisner from the practice squad.

Frazier said the plan is "to go slow with" both tight ends. "Hopefully, we can get both of those guys after practice by Thursday or at least by Friday."

Safety Husain Abdullah, who missed Sunday's loss to Oakland because of a concussion, didn't practice on Wednesday and is considered day to day, Frazier said.

Linebacker Erin Henderson (hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing last Sunday's game.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin returned to the injury report and was limited because because of a rib injury that has been an on-again, off-again issue since training camp.

Defensive tackle Christian Ballard (hamstring), left tackle Charlie Johnson (Achilles') and safety Jamarca Sanford (shoulder) were all on the injury report but did not miss any practice time.

Judd Zulgad contributed.

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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