Vikings get key players back at practice

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Two days ago, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier didn’t have much good news to share when it comes to injuries to several key players. Two days later, Frazier approached the podium for his Wednesday press conference with a bit more optimism.

Frazier started his press conference by saying Minnesota should have everyone available for Wednesday’s afternoon practice session. For the Vikings, that includes running back Adrian Peterson, receiver Percy Harvin, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith.

Peterson is dealing with a shoulder strain. Rudolph and Smith have both passed their concussion testing, but Rudolph is also dealing with a shoulder strain. Frazier said Harvin, who’s been out with a badly sprained ankle since Nov. 4, will participate in the individual part of practice to see how much his injured ankle can stand.

“To know that Kyle and Harrison have been cleared, that’s a big deal because they are two keys to our football team,” Frazier said. “The fact that Percy is going to attempt to do something today, that’s encouraging; just a matter of how far he can go. But, yeah, it’s a big deal to have those guys out there practicing.”

Harvin participated in part of the individual drills, including some route-running to see if he can continue his progression and possibly make it back for Sunday’s game at Green Bay.

Harvin, who leads the team with 62 receptions and is the top kickoff returner with a 35.9-yard average, has been out since spraining his ankle in three places in a Week 9 loss at Seattle. He tested the ankle last Friday in an attempt to get ready for last week’s game, but was unable to apply any weight. Frazier didn’t have any update on Monday, but after running through some tests with Harvin on Tuesday, the team wanted to see what the playmaking receiver could do during Wednesday’s practice.

“(Harvin) was OK, definitely not there yet,” Frazier said. “So we want to try to increase it today and see how he does.”

Frazier said the team is still being cautious with Harvin and his recovery. Last week, Frazier said Harvin would have to return to practice before being activated for a game after missing so much time.

Peterson, who leads the league in rushing with 1,236 yards, suffered the shoulder strain in last week’s loss at Chicago. He finished the game and Frazier didn’t seem worried about his status for Sunday.

“We’ll maybe limit some of the things that he does, but he’ll try to participate in everything we do,” Frazier said of Peterson. “We may just try to limit some of what he does.”

Smith said he had no problems in his recovery from a concussion.

“I passed all the tests and feel good, so I’m excited to play,” Smith said. “I just kind of got hit in the right spot I guess, or the wrong spot. It wasn’t even the most violent hit, it just got me in the right spot.”

The rookie safety has made a big difference in the Vikings secondary with 80 tackles, one interception and eight pass deflections, while adding a physical presence on the back end.

Frazier said Rudolph, second on the team with 39 catches and 361 receiving yards, might miss Wednesday’s practice, but it was just to give his injured shoulder an extra day of rest.

“He may be the one guy that might not work,” Frazier said. “He has a shoulder strain also that’s giving him a little trouble, so we may end up holding him out just to give him another day with that.”

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