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Updated: December 6th, 2012 5:13pm
Notebook: Vikings backup QB Joe Webb elects to remain patient

Notebook: Vikings backup QB Joe Webb elects to remain patient

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- As Christian Ponder's struggles grow worse, the calls for Joe Webb have increased.

This is nothing new.

The backup quarterback is often the most popular player on a team's roster. But while fans might be wondering why he isn't getting an opportunity to replace Ponder, Webb remains patient.

"You don't want to bring anything negative toward the team," Webb said Thursday. "You don't want to start a quarterback controversy or nothing like that. You don't want to bring any negativity or draw bad attention to the team. You just want to stay positive all the time. Try to find ways to help the team in other ways."

A sixth-round pick out of Alabama-Birmingham in 2010, Webb has appeared in only one game this season and that was to finish up a 30-7 victory over Tennessee on Oct. 7. Webb handed the ball off twice and knelt down once before the game ended.

Webb has a 1-1 record as a starter, having beaten Philadelphia and lost at Detroit in the final two games of his rookie season. Last season, Webb nearly guided the Vikings to a come-from-behind victory at Detroit on Dec. 11 after he replaced Ponder. He did rally the Vikings to victory on Dec. 24 at Washington after Ponder suffered a concussion in the third quarter.

"I'm always ready. I'm always preparing as if I'm going to start for the week," Webb said. "That's always my mindset and that's how I take it every week. ... I think I'm continuing to get better. Doing the scout team reps, going against the first-team defense, that's always a plus."

Webb, who also worked at wide receiver during his first two NFL seasons but is focusing on playing quarterback this year, said he hasn't gotten discouraged about standing on the sideline.

"Everything happens for a reason and everyone's opportunity is going to come," Webb said. "Whenever that time comes you have to make sure you're ready."

Webb said he is focusing on continuing to learn how to read NFL defenses that are constantly attempting to disguise things and confuse quarterbacks.

Craig Johnson, the Vikings quarterbacks coach, acknowledges Webb is in a difficult situation because he isn't getting a chance to play.

"It's hard really for Joe because this year he hasn't been on the field," Johnson said. "So you just never know. The positive thing I would say about Joe is he has not spent this much time at quarterback in his life. He's always had the athletic ability, he's always done a couple of other things.

"There are so many little details associated with being a quarterback that he's got to work (on) here. I've seen tremendous progress. Obviously, I won't know and I can't carry that over because the practice field is not the game field. When that time comes and Joe Webb gets out there, I've seen enough that I think he's going to be fine. But the only way to find out is throw him out there in the fire and test him out."

Making it simple 

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is very aware of NFL records and milestones.

That means the league's leading rusher almost certainly knows he is 554 yards shy of rushing for 2,000 yards after returning from reconstructive knee surgery this season. Peterson enters Sunday with 1,446 yards rushing and would need to average 138.5 yards per game to get to 2,000.

"It's not something I'm thinking about constantly," Peterson said. "I feel like if I go out and just continue to play the way I've been playing then it will come naturally."

Peterson, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in a franchise-record six consecutive games, did acknowledge that getting to 2,000 yards in a season would be a big milestone.

"It would," said Peterson, who gained 210 yards on the ground last Sunday at Green Bay and has averaged 157.8 yards in the past six games. "I'm not making it seem like I don't want to get to 2,000. But I'm making it simple for myself. Go out and continue to play the way I'm playing. (If I do that), then I feel like it will come. I don't sit there and worry about it, think about it. Just go out and play ball and let it come to me. Let it happen."

There have been six 2,000-yard rushing seasons in the NFL. Eric Dickerson set the single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams.

The other 2,000-yard rushers were Baltimore's Jamal Lewis (2,066 in 2003), Detroit's Barry Sanders (2,053 in 1997), Denver's Terrell Davis (2,008 in 1998), Tennessee's Chris Johnson (2,006 in 2009) and Buffalo's O.J. Simpson (2,003 in 1973).

Playing hurt

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen did not practice for the second consecutive day Thursday because of a lower back issue, but coach Leslie Frazier said he expects Allen to return to practice Friday and play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Allen also is listed on the Vikings' injury report because of a torn labrum in his shoulder that was revealed last weekend. Allen has been playing with that injury all season.

"Honestly, you play through things every year," said Allen, who leads the Vikings with nine sacks. "For me, I've never had this much on me in one year. We've got a great training staff and the coaching staff does a good job of when I need to rest they rest me and come Sunday I'm always 100 percent, no matter what the issue is.

"You go out there and you play, you try not to let it slow you down and you play through stuff. At this time of year everybody is playing through something, so I think the only day you're fresh is the first day of training camp."

Getting a rest

Peterson was held out of practice on Thursday but that was simply Frazier's decision to give his star a rest. Peterson was not listed on the injury report Wednesday, although he has dealt with ankle and shoulder issues in recent weeks.

"He had a good day of work (Wednesday)," Frazier said. "He'll be back at practice (Friday), but I just did that to give him a chance to rest up a little bit and come back ready to go."

Limited for the Vikings for a second consecutive day were tight end Kyle Rudolph (shoulder), linebacker Jasper Brinkley (shoulder), right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), center John Sullivan (ribs, knee) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee).

Defensive tackle Letroy Guion was added to the injury report because of a shin issue but did not miss any practice time.

The Bears, meanwhile, declared wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) as "out" for Sunday.

Running back Michael Bush (ribs) and cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) did not take part in practice for Chicago.

Defensive tackle Stephen Paea (foot), tackle/guard Gabe Carimi (hamstring), wide receivers Devin Hester (concussion) and Alshon Jeffery (knee) and guard Chris Spencer (knee) were all limited.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall returned to practice after getting a day off Wednesday. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. 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
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