Adrian Peterson says he’ll play, but Erin Henderson out

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson has said he
will be in the lineup for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but the team will be
without middle linebacker Erin Henderson and possibly defensive end Brian
Robison.

Peterson returned to practice Friday for Minnesota, but he’s
listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Green Bay with an injured groin.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Henderson won’t return to the team in time to
play Sunday as he deals with a personal matter.

Robison missed practice Friday as he deals with a neck
injury.

“I’ve actually never had a muscle spasm,” Robison
said. “This is first thing for me, kind of weird. You don’t think of a
muscle spasm totally locking you down, and it did. We’ll see what
happens.”

The Vikings listed Henderson, cornerback Josh Robinson
(fractured sternum) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (broken foot) as out for
Sunday’s game. Peterson, Robison, receiver Greg Jennings (Achilles), center
John Sullivan (concussion), and linebacker Michael Mauti (knee) are listed as
questionable. Sullivan passed the league-mandated concussion testing and
returned to practice Friday on a limited basis.

Peterson, the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher with 851 yards,
practiced on a limited basis Friday. He played through the injury last Sunday
at Seattle, but was limited to 65 yards on 21 carries and said he missed
several longer runs because of the injury.

In his career, Peterson has averaged 115.5 yards per game
against the Packers.

“Adrian got some work today so that was encouraging as
well,” Frazier said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

Henderson has been away from the team all week while dealing
with a personal matter and Frazier didn’t want to comment on the situation
Friday. Audie Cole, a seventh-round pick last year, will start in Henderson’s
place and play in the nickel defense.

Cole, who will also have the designated headset in his
helmet and communicate play calls for the defense, said he doesn’t feel any
pressure stepping into the starting lineup.

“The only time I ever feel pressure is when I don’t
feel prepared and I feel like I’ve prepared real well this week,” Cole
said. “The coaches have done a great job with me and I think I’m real into
the game plan. I don’t really feel pressured or nervous because of it.

Cole was waived by Minnesota on Nov. 7 as the team was
caught short-handed because of several injuries and needed to add Kevin Murphy
to the active roster from the practice squad with tackle Phil Loadholt out with
a concussion. Cole cleared waivers and re-signed with the team Nov. 9 after the
Vikings’ Nov. 7 game.

“They told me,” Cole said of the team wanting to
bring him back after he was released. “Obviously it’s still not cool. It’s
not what you want to happen. I understand why they did it, someone had to go. I
wish it wasn’t me but it was. You’ve just got to take it. It sucked, I came
back and things have been going good for me lately.”

Mauti, a rookie seventh-round pick, might have been in line
to start for Henderson, but he “tweaked” his surgically-repaired left
knee in Sunday’s loss at Seattle.

“Not uncommon,” Mauti said of the injury.
“It’s one of those things, I got up and jogged off the field so I knew I
was good. Structurally it’s good. Got an MRI on Monday and you see what you
need to see and then that’s it. It’s good to go, everything’s intact, you’re
good. Just had to get the inflammation out, let my body kind of heal it up and
then I’ll be good to go on Sunday.”

Mauti had three separate surgeries to repair torn anterior
cruciate ligaments in his knees while in college at Penn State, twice having
surgery on his left knee, which was the most recent surgery and one that caused
him to slip in the draft this summer.

“It is what it is,” Mauti said of the timing of
the injury Sunday with Henderson out this week. “You can’t control what
happens to you in a football game. I know that better than anybody. But I’m not
going to be limited Sunday, so that’s really all that matters.”

If Robison is unable to play, Minnesota could need to make a
move to add a defensive end. Robison and Jared Allen are the starters and
Everson Griffen is the lone backup on the active roster. Allen was a full
participant in Friday’s practice after being listed as limited on Thursday with
a back injury.

“I think it’s just a muscle spasm,” Robison said.
“We’ll see how it goes and figure it out from here on out.”

Jennings should be ready to make his first return to Lambeau
Field as an opponent. The Vikings should get defensive tackle Letroy Guion
(chest) back for Sunday’s game too. Guion has missed the past two games, but is
listed as probable. Tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle), defensive tackle Fred
Evans (knee/shoulder), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), linebacker Chad
Greenway (wrist) and quarterback Christian Ponder (left shoulder) were full
participants in practice and are probable.

Green Bay will be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers
(collarbone), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), linebacker Nick Perry
(foot/ankle), offensive lineman Don Barclay (knee) and cornerback James Nixon
(knee). Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (groin) is listed as doubtful and
cornerback Sam Shields (hamstring) is questionable.

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