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Updated: December 9th, 2011 3:00pm
Notebook: Adrian Peterson '80 percent'; Ponder a game-day decision?

Notebook: Adrian Peterson '80 percent'; Ponder a game-day decision?

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson says he's about 80% healthy. He knows he still has a hitch when he's running.

But the Minnesota Vikings' All-Pro halfback repeated on Friday he's willing to play at less than full speed, provided he's not putting himself in danger by playing on a high ankle sprain.

"It's kind of noticeable when I'm out there running," said Peterson, who officially is listed as questionable (50% chance of playing) for Sunday's game at Detroit.

"I feel like I'm still kind of moving fast, but then again, it's a little gallop. I don't mind. If I'm feeling good, I don't mind running down the field Sunday, galloping, as long as I get to the end zone."

Sidelined since he suffered the injury on Nov. 20, Peterson practiced on a limited basis for the second consecutive day on Friday and ramped up his workload in individual drills.

The 26-year-old said he was sorer than a day earlier but hoped to ice it, rest and wake up feeling good enough before Saturday's walkthrough to pitch coach Leslie Frazier about playing against the Lions.

"One thing I do know (is) I won't be cutting as hard as when I'm 100 percent," Peterson said. "I would say I'm probably about 80 percent right now."

Frazier said he was encouraged by Peterson's work in practice and the team has enough information to make a decision without putting him through a pregame workout.

That brought to mind a similar situation last Dec. 5, one week after Peterson sprained an ankle at Washington. He went through a pregame workout that day, got the green light and ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Buffalo.

"I wasn't (100 percent) then," Peterson said. "I know my body. I know if I'm going to be able to go out and be productive in some type of way without hurting myself or causing more damage. So, I'm going to go with that."

One force driving Peterson, who said he'd be willing to take a painkilling injection, is a shot at extending his streak of 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He has 872 yards on 186 carries (4.7 average) this season, leaving him four weeks to gain 124 more -- which would still leave him short of the career-low 1,298 rushing yards he had in 2010.

"It's motivation," Peterson said. "I'm a running back. I have team goals and then I have personal goals also. That's a mark I definitely want to reach. Getting past 1,000 yards, that's something I want to reach."

Limited work for Ponder

Quarterback Christian Ponder's status may end up being a game-day decision.

Sidelined by a hip pointer on Wednesday and Thursday, Ponder said he got "a couple reps" in each practice period on Friday, with backup Joe Webb taking the majority of the work.

"I'm confident that I'd be able to go," Ponder said. "I think it's a matter of my effectiveness. I don't know how effective I'd be. I would like to think that I'd be playing 100 percent, but I don't know if that's 100 percent true. We'll see."

Ponder suffered the injury when a Broncos player drilled him in the right hip early in last weekend's loss. The rookie finished the game but said he was "real sore" early in the week and was at the Vikings' facility "from basically 7 in the morning to 6 at night getting treatment."

The issue now is tightness on his right side, Ponder said, but he didn't feel it affected his accuracy in Friday's practice. Equipment manager Dennis Ryan gave Ponder a bunch of different pads to try as protection if he ends up playing against the Lions.

Asked if he always wore uniform pants without much padding, Ponder said, "Not until here, which is probably not very smart. You see how all the NFL guys don't really wear that many pads, so I thought I should fit in and I didn't (wear them) and bad idea.

Danger zone?

One consideration for the Vikings when it comes to playing Peterson or Ponder on Sunday could be the Lions' reputation for physical play that sometimes continues after the whistle.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh won't play on Sunday as he completes a two-game suspension for stomping on Green Bay guard Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm in a Thanksgiving game in Detroit.

Would the Lions target Ponder's hip?

"I don't know," Ponder said. "I wouldn't be surprised. I think a lot of teams do that, knowing where an area hurts."

Health watch

The Vikings ruled out cornerback Chris Cook, who remains on paid leave as he awaits trial on a felony domestic assault charge.

Everyone else on their injury report was listed as probable: receiver Percy Harvin (finger), guard Steve Hutchinson (illness), end Brian Robison (concussion), cornerback Asher Allen (shoulder), linebacker Chad Greenway (elbow), linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder), end Everson Griffen (quadriceps), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hand) and guard Anthony Herrera (knee).

Greenway practiced all week with a large brace protecting the elbow he hyperextended against Denver and probably will wear it for another week or two, Frazier said.

"They have a brace there to protect him," Frazier said, "but he shouldn't have a problem with tackling and getting people to the ground."

Robison "had two good days of practice with no side effects," Frazier said. "So, he's going to be full-go."

Webb's chance?

Frazier praised the progress of Webb, who would start if Ponder can't.

"He's shown that he's been paying attention in all the meetings," Frazier said. "He's done a good job with some of the things that we've installed for this game plan and understanding the offense and getting the football where it needs to go."

Drafted in the sixth round out of UAB as a receiver in 2010, Webb made two starts at quarterback as a rookie. That included a rocky showing in the Jan. 2 finale at Detroit, where he completed 20 of 32 passes (62.5%) for 145 yards, an interception and a 60.0 passer rating.

He spent most of this season as a reserve receiver and the No. 3 quarterback behind Ponder and Donovan McNabb, who was waived last week. In seven appearances, Webb has thrown only two passes, completing one for 8 yards last week against Denver.

"I know he's excited about this opportunity if it comes to (fruition)," Frazier said. "He wants to have a chance to go out and show what he's capable of doing."

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