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 running back Adrian Peterson was held out of Thursday's practice due to a lingering groin injury. Head coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson is expected to practice on Friday after missing consecutive practices.
Peterson has had issues with his hamstring and groin all season, but he leads the NFL with 1,208 rushing yards.
"It just tells you how amazing he is," Frazier said. "Not only does he play, but he plays extremely well. It's just incredible when you think what those injuries could for any position, less someone at running back."
Quarterback Christian Ponder still hasn't passed the NFL concussion protocol and Frazier said he will likely not have a role Sunday against the Ravens.
Wide receiever Greg Childs practiced again on Thursday, marking the first time he's participated in consecutive days. Frazier hopes Childs can practice again on Friday. The Vikings must make a decision by next week to either activate, release or place Childs on injured reserve.
"Childs has looked pretty good; he's made a lot of progress," Frazier said.
Frazier said tight end Kyle Rudolph (broken foot) hasn't progressed as fast as the team hoped. Rudolph was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He will miss his fifth game on Sunday after suffering the injury against the Cowboys on Nov. 3.
Linebacker Larry Dean (knee) missed practice again. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (illness) was also limited in practice.
VIKINGS-RAVENS INJURY REPORT
Vikings: RB Adrian Peterson (groin), LB Larry Dean (knee), QB Christian Ponder (concussion), CB Josh Robinson (chest), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) and S Jamarca Sanford (ankle) did not practice Thursday. DE Jared Allen (finger) and LB Chad Greenway (wrist) were limited.
Ravens: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), S Brynden Trawick (ankle) and CB Asa Jackson (thigh) did not practice. DE Chris Canty (shoulder), WR Brandon Stokley (knee) and CB Lardarius Webb (abdomen) were limited.
He has one NFL MVP award, five All-Pro honors and more than 10,000 yards rushing. But Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still considers himself a work in progress in some areas.
One of those areas is having the patience to play behind a fullback and linemen or tight ends who pull to block for him. The Vikings relied heavily on a number of those power calls with All-Pro fullback Jerome Felton and a variety of pulling linemen and tight ends last week. The result was a 23-20 overtime win over the Bears and 211 yards rushing on a career-high 35 carries for Peterson.
Peterson was asked a series of questions about Felton today. He said the two have a close relationship and a strong trust that's developed over the past two seasons. But when asked why he didn't like playing with a fullback earlier in his career, Peterson's answer was a bit of a surprise in its bluntness.
"I still kind of don't like it now, at times," Peterson said. "It all depends on the play call. ... It varies."
Peterson also said on some plays, such as the toss sweeps, he doesn't care whether there's a fullback in or not.
Peterson was asked how difficult it is to match up the timing with a fullback.
"Based off last week, I wouldn't say it's difficult," he said. "But I can say for myself, I'm just so quick to shoot the gun sometimes. When you have two pullers or three pullers in front of you, you have to be more patient. I haven't had a lot of time over my career being patient. That's why sometimes, I don't like the fullback in front of me.
"When I work on myself and try to be more patient, you see what happens last week. Allowing those guys to get in front of me, you see how effective it can be in the running game. It worked out well."
Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was still thinking about the final play of regulation on Wednesday.
What could’ve been is all we’re left asking on a missed 66-yard field goal attempt by Bears kicker Robbie Gould that Patterson fielded in the end zone. He didn’t score, but if he would’ve followed his blockers, Patterson thought he would’ve had a better shot.
“I could’ve got passed all of those guys in my eyes with the way they set the blocks up,” Patterson said. “I went the wrong way. I tried to set it up the way they were blocking it up, I tried to go the opposite way, but I should’ve gone to our side on our bench.
Let’s break it down and see if in fact he did have a shot at scoring:
Patterson fields the missed field goal about eight yards deep in the end zone without anyone within at least 30 yards near him.
Patterson has two defenders at the 20-yard line before he even exits the end zone, but the Vikings begin the start forming a wall for Patterson.
With Patterson at the three-yard line, the Vikings have their wall formed. If he can somehow get by the first Bears defender (circled in red), Patterson has a great shot at scoring if the four Vikings players circled in yellow make their blocks (circled in red).
Instead Patterson goes the opposite way of the wall. He wanted to draw some defenders away before following his blockers, but Patterson slipped right before this screenshot and forced to stick to his right.
You can see linebacker Marvin Mitchell (in blue) clearly pointing at Patterson to follow his blockers.
...and that's Mitchell's reaction (in blue) after Patterson commits to the right side. He jumps up in the air with his hands on his helmet almost in disbelief. The Vikings nearly had an Auburn-Alabama finish.
"I know I didn’t [score], but we got the win so that’s all that matters," Patterson said.
Vikings cornerback Chris Cook revealed after practice that the NFL, according to Cook's agent, has fined him "something like $26,000" for making contact with an official and being ejected after giving up a 46-ayrd touchdown pass in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Bears.
"My agent already appealed it," Cook said. "We'll see what happens. Most of the guys in here don't think it will be reduced, but we'll see."
Cook said he's learned from the incident and his ensuing talk with coach Leslie Frazier, who obviously wasn't happy to lose one of his starting corners, especially considering the secondary already was undermanned because of injuries and last week's release of A.J. Jefferson.
"I know I have to keep my composure; that's basically what [Frazier] told me," Cook said. "I was just frustrated with some things in the game and lost my composure. I can guarantee it will not happen again."
Cook said he was most upset about what he thought was offensive pass interference two plays before he was ejected.
"I know it was pass interference, but I'm not a referee, so it's not my call to make," Cook said. "The ball was literally falling into my lap and my arm was being grabbed and I couldn't get my arm up. I was frustrated about that, and they turn around and score and it made me even more mad. I let my emotions get the best of me. I know I can't act like that, especially towards an official."
As for making contact with the official, Cook said it was minor.
"I kind of touched his arm, but it wasn't really like I was trying to push him on the ground or something," Cook said. "They made it seem like I was trying to push him on the ground. But I just got up and said, `That was bull' about the play a few plays before. But I can't really do anything about what they call within the game. I have to be a man about it and move on to the next play."
Cook also was asked what's at stake for him over the final four games. His contract is up at the end of the year.
"Your guy's guess is as good as mine," he said. "My future, that's really the thing that's at stake for me. It's a contract year for me. I've had a pretty rough year by my standards. I just have to go and ball out these last four games."
Updated injury report:
Six Vikings did not practice. They were RB Adrian Peterson (groin), CB Josh Robinson (sternum), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle), LB Larry Dean (knee) and QB Christian Ponder (concussion). DE Jared Allen (finger) and LB Chad Greenway (wrist) were limited.
Two Ravens did not practice. They were DE Elvis Dumervil and S Brynden Trawick, both because of ankle injuries.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier announced today that Erin Henderson will start Sunday at Baltimore, but not at middle linebacker. Audie Cole will remain the starter at that spot while Henderson will return to weakside linebacker, a position he played prior to this season.
Henderson lost his job after his DWI arrest came to light last week. Henderson also has acknowledged that he's dealing with a personal issue, which caused him to miss the Green Bay game.
Henderson will return to the lineup after dressing but not playing in Sunday's victory against the Bears.
"It’s a huge thing for me," he said. "I didn’t really know how it was going to play out or what was going to happen once everything came out [about his arrest] and happened the way it did. It's another chance, another opportunity."
Henderson is familiar with the weakside spot so he shouldn't face any adjustment in shifting back to that role.
"From a pride standpoint and from a player’s standpoint, it’s a little bit difficult," he said. "But I accept my role and I understand what they’re trying to get done here and I’m behind my coach and the organization and whatever else decisions they make.”
The target of criticism for fans and media this season, Henderson said he's in a good frame of mind now, but he acknowledged that he let the criticism get to him this season.
"I have a lot of things to be happy about and thankful for aside from all the naysayers and haters and everybody else who's had different things to say about me throughout the year," he said. "Sometimes I let it get to me and get me down too much. I've come to grips with it and come to terms with it and I'm able to look at myself and know the man that I am and accept it.
".... I go out there every Sunday and I play my guts out, leave it on the line for my teammates and myself as well. So when you get some negative feedback it can be kind of a tough pill to swallow. But then you learn some of those people are idiots, sitting behind computers and phones saying whatever they want to say and you can't give it too much credit. Take it with a grain of salt and continue to move forward."
Henderson said he's limited his interaction on Twitter because of that criticism.
"I thought about deleting my account but that's giving them even more satisfaction," he said. "I still have my account but it's not on my phone so I don't check it as often and I don't tweet out too much. I think it is still good for those fans who appreciate the interaction and being able to reach out to people. There are a lot of good people out there. I get a lot of positive feedback as well. I don't think I give that enough credit or appreciation for the people who are talking well about me and who do have things to say about me. It can be kind of difficult to see sometimes with so much negativity coming your way.
"... Even with Audie going out there playing well. Instead of people just being happy for Audie playing, it's 'Audie's playing well, Erin sucks, get him out of there, he should never play again.' Why do I have to have anything to do with that? Just be happy for Audie and what he's doing and the opportunity he's taking advantage of."
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