Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has listed running back Adrian Peterson as "questionable," meaning the guy we all assumed would miss Sunday's game against the Eagles, now has a 50-50 chance of playing.
Once again, we may find out that assuming the worst for Adrian Peterson isn't a wise thing to do.
Peterson practiced today for the first time this week. According to Frazier, Peterson planted and showed good burst off the right foot that he sprained early in the second quarter of last week's game at Baltimore.
"It was impressive when you consider the early diagnosis," Frazier said. "He's unique. Very unique. He's so different than everybody else when it comes to recovering from injuries. We've been in situations in the past where you thought he wouldn't make it and he made it. So it was always in the back of my mind the chance he would make it. He's amazing."
Frazier sounded optimistic, but was not willing to go beyond listing Peterson as questionable in part because he'll need to see how Peterson's foot responds tomorrow after going through today's workout. Frazier also indicated it could be a game-time decision on whehter to play Peterson.
Meanwhile, running back Toby Gerhart, who suffered a hamstring injury in last week's game, also returned to practice today for the first time this week. Frazier said Gerhart looked good, but was kept from testing the hamstring with the kind of cuts and burst he would typically use in a game.
Cornerback Chris Cook (knee) was a surprise addition to the injury report today. He was limited in practice and has been listed as questionable.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) did not practice and were listed as doubtful. Marcus Sherels would start for Rhodes while Joe Berger would start for Fusco.
And, finally, tight end John Carlson still has not passed the NFL protocol for returning from the concussion he suffered last week. Rhett Ellison will get the start. Chase Ford also would be available.
Linebackers Larry Dean (knee) and Chad Greenway (wrist) are listed as probable.
Injured running backs Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) were participating in the brief portion of Friday's practice that's open to the media. It's a light, non-padded workout, so they weren't doing much while reporters were in the building.
Peterson spent a large portion of the time talking with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and testing his sprained right foot on the sideline. He and Gerhart also went through warmups and ran pass patterns, which players run at less than full speed before team drills begin.
Meanwhile, cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) and tight end John Carlson (concussion) were not participating.
We'll have more later after coach Leslie Frazier and Peterson talk to the media.
For this week’s edition of “Behind Enemy Lines,” we reached out to Zach Berman, Eagles beat writer for the Inquirer. Here are five questions we posed to Berman in advance of Sunday’s Vikings-Eagles game at the Metrodome.
1. Some were quick to write off head coach Chip Kelly’s offense, but the Eagles are now third in total offense. What has been the reason for his success transitioning from college?
ZB: The key has definitely been the stability at quarterback. In that rough patch they had, two games without scoring an offensive touchdown, during that span they played three quarterbacks. Two quarterbacks essentially got knocked out of games. When Nick Foles came in and played well to stabilize that position that was the key.
Also all the other pieces around the quarterback started working together and working well together, particularly the defense. In the last nine games, the defense has held the opponent to 21 points or fewer. That’s the only team in the league that’s done that.
2. Is the philosophy on defense similar to what Kelly did at Oregon?
ZB: That’d be fair to say. One of the similarities is the fact that it’s such a fast pace offense that the defense is on the field more than some other teams so some of those yardage statistics are higher (30th in total defensive averaging 398.3 yards a game, three yards fewer than the Vikings). But the number they care about is scoring defense and if you look at the last nine games, their scoring defense has been very good (13th in the NFL allowing 23.2 points a game). They’re a very opportunistic defense. They force turnovers. When Chip was at Oregon, they were very good at forcing turnovers, and it’s the same thing here.
3. Where has Foles improved the most over the last month?
ZB: The decision making. That directly ties into everything. He knows where to go with the ball, keeping the ball out of harm’s way. He seldom makes throws where you look at it and you say, “Why did he throw that?” The other thing is he’s running the ball more effectively than you would think. That’s important to note because teams can’t just key on [running back] LeSean McCoy on some of their read plays. They’re able to have Nick hold on to the ball and run for first downs. You saw that in the Green Bay especially when Nick was able to tuck the ball away and grab first downs. They’re not going to treat him like [quarterback] Michael Vick, nor should they, but they should at least keep an eye on him.
4. In his fifth season, McCoy is four yards away from his career high in rushing yards (currently at 1,309) with three games to play. What has led to his best season in the NFL this year?
ZB: He’s a dynamic player. You watch the way he runs and the moves he has, he’s a better downhill runner than he gets credit for. A lot of it is just his natural talent, but the other thing you need to look at is his offensive line. The offensive line, this is a group where three of those guys had season ending injuries last year (tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and guard Todd Herremans) and one is a rookie (tackle Lane Johnson). The continuity they’ve had is remarkable. They started all 13 games and aside for a few in-game injuries, they’ve all been on the field together. That’s been the key more than anything else.
5. The Eagles (8-5) hold a one game lead on the Cowboys (7-6) in the NFC East. How will this division play out three weeks from now?
ZB: I think their most realistic scenario [to make the playoffs] is through the division. I think after Dallas lost the other night, it’s looking much better. If they can beat Minnesota then the path looks a little better because worst case scenario at that point is you have a chance to clinch in Week 17 [against the Cowboys]. You don’t want to be in a situation where you lose to Minnesota, then you beat Chicago and you need to hope that Dallas is losing games.
Adrian Peterson (foot) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) missed a second day of practice Thursday.
Coach Leslie Frazier said he hopes both will be able to do some work Friday. Peterson, who suffered a foot sprain, only has done pool rehab this week.
Asked what he needs to see from both players Friday in order to feel comfortable putting them on the field Sunday, Frazier said, "In Adrian's case, being able to see him cut, plant, just put some weight on that foot. Then with Toby, just see if he can burst a little bit with a hamstring. Hopefully, we can find that out tomorrow."
Tight end John Carlson is still experiencing concussion symptoms so he’s not been cleared to practice. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and right guard Brandon Fusco (knee) also did not practice.
“I’m hoping that we’ll get Brandon out there [Friday],” Frazier said. “Xavier will be touch and go. We’ll know more tomorrow. That’s a big day for all those guys.”
With only two games left in the Metrodome, the Vikings announced their all-Mall of America Field team on Thursday.
The team was chosen by fan voting over the past month and recognizes the "greatest Vikings to play in the stadium." The team consists of 27 current and former players -- 12 offensive players, 11 defensive players and four special teamers, as well as the head coach. The team will be honored during halftime of Sunday's game against Philadelphia.
Here is the team:
PLAYER POS. YEARS
Daunte Culpepper... QB........... 1999-05
Adrian Peterson....... RB........... 2007-13
Robert Smith........... RB........... 1993-00
Anthony Carter....... WR........... 1985-93
Cris Carter.............. WR........... 1990-01
Randy Moss........... WR...... 1998-04,’10
Steve Jordan............ TE........... 1982-94
Tim Irwin..................... T........... 1981-93
Gary Zimmerman....... T........... 1986-92
Steve Hutchinson...... G........... 2006-11
Randall McDaniel...... G........... 1988-99
Matt Birk..................... C........... 1998-08
PLAYER POS. YEARS
Jared Allen............... DE........... 2008-13
Chris Doleman......... DE...... 1985-93,’99
John Randle............. DT........... 1990-00
Kevin Williams......... DT........... 2003-13
Chad Greenway....... LB........... 2006-13
Ed McDaniel............. LB........... 1992-01
Scott Studwell.......... LB........... 1977-90
Carl Lee................... CB........... 1983-93
Antoine Winfield....... CB........... 2004-12
Robert Griffith............ S........... 1994-01
Joey Browner............. S........... 1983-91
PLAYER POS. YEARS
Percy Harvin........... RS........... 2009-12
Chris Kluwe................ P........... 2005-12
Ryan Longwell............ K........... 2006-11
Chris Walsh.............. ST........... 1994-02
Dennis Green ........................... 1992-01
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