Adrian Peterson says he'll play, but Erin Henderson out
NOV 22, 2013 2:25p ET
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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