Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson says he'll play on Sunday

BY Fansided and Brad Berreman/Fansided • December 16, 2016

His possible return seemed more likely to come in Week 16, but Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he will play against the Colts on Sunday.

The Minnesota Vikings have the NFL’s worst rush offense this season (73.4 yards per game), due in part to Adrian Peterson’s absence since Week 2 due to a knee injury. Peterson has been making progress toward a return in recent weeks, and he suggested he would for sure return if the Vikings remained in the playoff race.

A Christmas Eve Week 16 game against the Green Bay Packers looked likely to be Peterson’s return date, as he returned to practice this week. But during a Friday appearance on Dash Radio, Peterson said he will play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Peterson was not exactly prolific in the two games he has played this season, averaging 1.6 yards per carry (31 carries for 50 yards) with two catches for seven yards. His aversion to taking handoffs out of the shotgun also makes him a poor fit for how the Vikings’ offense has tilted since he was injured and since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator. Couple that with head coach Mike Zimmer’s suggestion Peterson had not been a part of meetings led by Shurmur while he was out, and an immediate, notable contribution can’t be expected.

But the Colts are 24th in the league in run defense (115.4 yards per game) right now, with a real talent deficiency on that side of the ball. So Sam Bradford and the Minnesota passing game may have an easier time functioning based on Peterson’s mere presence, even if his current state does not back up his reputation as a great running back.

At his point, the Vikings have to win out to give themselves the best chance at a playoff spot. Having Peterson back theoretically helps the effort to do that, even if he’s not breaking off long runs or getting 25 carries in a game.

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