Allen, others likely face last game with Vikings

Adrian Peterson’s status for the last game of the season is

uncertain.

”Stay tuned,” the Minnesota running back said.

Even if he doesn’t play on Sunday against Detroit, Peterson will

have plenty more games in purple, his health allowing. Peterson has

a lot of prominent teammates who aren’t, however, assured of such a

future. Defensive end Jared Allen leads the list.

”I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it, but it’s not

what’s on my mind right now,” Allen said on Thursday. ”I’ve got

to prepare for this game. I’m trying to go out the way I want in

this Metrodome and have this last game be something special.”

Neither the Vikings nor the Lions can qualify for the playoffs,

of course, so pride, nostalgia and camaraderie are the priorities

for Sunday. Allen, who has 83 1/2 sacks since he arrived in

Minnesota in 2008, tied for the most in the NFL over that span, has

an expiring contract. He can still reach a double-digit total for

the seventh straight year with half a sack or more against the

Lions, but at age 31 he’s not likely to fit in the team’s plans for

next season.

”I’m not naive to the point that I don’t understand the

business side of this or understand the trends that have happened

in the past,” Allen said, adding: ”Some things are out of your

control, and this one is out of your control. We’re moving forward.

And when the smoke settles, everybody will be where they’re

supposed to be, whether it’s here or whether it’s not. That will be

decided at that time, but right now I’m having fun getting a chance

to put this uniform on one more time.”

The sentiment for Allen will be especially high considering the

probability he’ll be playing next to defensive tackle Kevin

Williams, who has become a close friend, for the final time.

Williams is the longest-tenured player on the team, and the

33-year-old will also be a free agent in the spring.

They’ve been one of the top end-tackle tandems in the

league.

”I don’t know that there’s going to be many better. There might

be some that are the same,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.

Allen and Williams have talked often this week about the way

they’d like to finish the season, the stadium and, likely, their

careers together.

”I don’t want anybody crying around here on Friday and

Saturday,” Allen said. ”But we’ll enjoy it when the time is

right. After the game, that’s the time to get sentimental.”

The end of the season always brings turnover in the NFL, but

after a bad year there’s often more. Other veterans who could be

with the Vikings for the last time on Sunday: left guard Charlie

Johnson, running back Toby Gerhart, tight end John Carlson and

defensive tackle Fred Evans.

Peterson is aiming to play, regardless of the relevance of this

game. He was held out two weeks ago with a sprained right foot and

said he ”felt uncomfortable” playing on it last week. Peterson

has also been hampered by a groin injury. He took part in practice

on Thursday, which coach Leslie Frazier said was encouraging to

him. But Peterson sounded more pessimistic than usual about his

status.

”I’m feeling OK. I’ve felt better. My body has been able to

rest a little bit. I’m trying to push to Sunday,” he said.

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

Dave Campbell on Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP