Banged-up Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder expected to play

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

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.

In addition to Peterson, Rudolph and Guion didn’t practice
Friday. Evans, Asiata, Ellison, guard Charlie Johnson (elbow/toe) and receiver
Greg Jennings (Achilles) were limited Friday.

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

“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

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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