Banged-up Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder expected to play
NOV 15, 2013 2:00p ET
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Quarterback Christian Ponder practiced all week in a limited role while recovering from a dislocated shoulder, but the Minnesota Vikings were without MVP running back Adrian Peterson the past two days.
Peterson, the league's fourth-leading rusher with 786 yards, is dealing with a groin injury and was held out of practice Thursday and Friday, but coach Leslie Frazier said he should be ready Sunday when Minnesota (2-7) at Seattle (9-1).
"More managing, not wanting to over-extend him," Frazier said of Peterson missing practice. "He has a good feel for what we're doing game plan-wise. He should be fine when we get to Sunday."
Frazier wasn't as declarative on Ponder as his starting quarterback.
Ponder is in line to start Sunday, the only concern being his recovery from a dislocated left, non-throwing shoulder in last week's win against Washington. Ponder took the first-team reps during the portion of practice open to the media all week, but Frazier said he wanted to make sure how Ponder felt on Saturday before formally announcing Ponder as the starter.
"The way he moved around today, he looked pretty good," Frazier said of Ponder. "Hopefully he'll wake up tomorrow without any residual effects, negative effects, from today's workload we gave him. But you never know."
If deemed healthy, Ponder would start with either Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman as the backup. Frazier didn't announce who would back up Ponder and said the team will talk about keeping all three quarterbacks active for Sunday's game.
Peterson and Ponder were both listed as probable on Minnesota's injury report. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, out four to six weeks with a broken foot, and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest) were listed as out for Sunday's game. Running back Matt Asiata (shoulder) is doubtful. Defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) and tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) are questionable.
Jennings, who leads the team with 34 catches, showed up for the first time on the injury report Thursday and is listed as probable.
"He's pretty sore and just backed off the work today," Frazier said of Jennings. "Give him another day to get ready for Sunday. … No (concern), he'll be ready to go."
Ponder, who would be making his fourth straight start, will wear a harness during the game to help keep the shoulder in place and said he would be surprised if he wasn't ready to play on Sunday.
"My expectation is that I'm feeling good and I'll be ready to go," Ponder said. "But again that's coach's call and I'm hoping it's me."
Ponder said he hasn't had any issues in practice and the team has tried to test his strength to see if he'll be able to withstand the pain.
"Not really until I take a hit," Ponder said of knowing how he will feel. "They were poking around on it this morning. And there wasn't too much pain. There was a little discomfort but it wasn't too bad."
Ponder hopes to play to build off the success against Washington. He said he's felt better each game and that he turned a corner when he was 17-of-21 passing for 174 yards, two touchdowns and an interception before dislocating his shoulder on a dive to the end zone.
"The biggest thing for us we were converting on third downs," Ponder said. "It helped me get into a rhythm and we were getting the ball out fast and also trying to get the ball down field. I was making decisions quickly, going through the reads quickly, which was good; looking forward to doing that again this weekend."
Evans could return after missing the past two games, but Guion would miss his second straight game. With Evans likely to be limited and without Guion, Kevin Williams will see more action at nose tackle this week.
"I think we'll still get Kevin in there some at the nose," Frazier said. "Fred coming off an injury, not sure how many snaps we can actually give him. So we still have a plan to get Kevin in there at times."
Simpson will play, unsure of start: Frazier hasn't announced whether receiver Jerome Simpson will start Sunday after being arrested last weekend and charged Wednesday with two counts of DWI. Frazier has said Simpson will travel with the team and play, but rookie Cordarrelle Patterson could get his first career start if the team decides to discipline Simpson by not starting him.
Frazier said the team is taking instruction from the NFL on how to deal with Simpson and wasn't sure about Simpson's status past this week.
"Yeah, they've kind of giving us some information as to how to proceed for this week, and we'll learn more when we come back next week," Frazier said. "So, we have an idea what we can and can't do this week."
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