Quarterback Christian Ponder remains optimistic that he will start Sunday at Seattle after suffering a dislocated left shoulder last week.
Ponder said the final decision rests with coach Leslie Frazier and the medical staff, but he left little doubt that he expects to play.
“Honestly, it’s a lot better than I expected it to be all week,” he said. “I was a little pessimistic about what was going to happen over the weekend. I was very uncomfortable. I woke up Monday and Tuesday and I kept feeling better and better. Our [athletic] training staff has done such a great job of getting me to feel better.”
Ponder said he will wear a harness to protect his shoulder but no extra padding. He will face a Seattle defense that is extremely physical and ranks fifth in the NFL with 31 sacks.
“Obviously, I’m going to get hit at some point,” Ponder said. “I’m sure it will be a little painful and hopefully the Seahawks don’t have a target on it.”
Ponder has carried the ball 26 times in six starts this season and likes to use his legs to make plays. He said his injury won’t cause him to be any less aggressive on the run.
“I think I need to do a better job of protecting myself when I run,” he said. “But it’s a big part of my game. I’m not going to try and hinder myself from that.”
Two of a kind
Sunday’s matchup features two of the NFL’s most powerful running backs in Adrian Peterson and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. Both were drafted in 2007 — Peterson at No. 7 overall, Lynch at No. 12 — and they’ve trained together in Arizona.
“I know his mentality, and I respect him as a running back,” Peterson said. “He definitely carries the nickname ‘Beast Mode’ very well.”
Peterson noted they have different running styles but a similar approach.
“As far as the aggressive part, he definitely reminds me of myself,” he said. “I’m sure he would say the same thing.”
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said Lynch, among all NFL running backs, is most similar to Peterson.
“He’s a big back, he’s physical, downhill, but has the speed and the power,” Allen said. “He can get to the edge and take any play to the house. You have to hit him and wrap him up. We have to tackle, have to gang tackle. You have to get more than one guy to the ball, that’s for sure.”
Wait one more week
Percy Harvin is expected to make his Seahawks debut after missing the first 10 games following hip surgery. His former teammates said they will be happy to see Harvin, but they prefer if he doesn’t suit up.
“Percy is good enough, let alone coming back with fresh legs,” said Allen, adding Harvin would also be ticked off at the Vikings.“Percy is the type of guy you’ve got to stop him before he starts. You can’t let him get going. You can’t let him get in the open field. That’s where he’s dangerous, those second-effort plays. We obviously got to see firsthand what he can do. He’s a tough kid. If he’s in there, we’re going to have to go hit him.’’
Frazier said he’s made a decision on whether he’ll bench receiver Jerome Simpson, who was charged with DWI, but he declined to reveal it.
“Seattle doesn’t care,” Frazier said. “They care about stopping Adrian Peterson. They don’t care who we start at receiver or quarterback or offensive tackle. No reason to name it.”
K-Will more time at NT
Frazier said veteran Kevin Williams won’t start at nose tackle but he will get some playing time at that spot again after recording 2½ sacks last week. Williams, who usually plays the 3-technique tackle position, replaced injured starter Letroy Guion at nose tackle against Washington.
• Vikings: TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) and RB Adrian Peterson (groin) did not participate. DT Fred Evans (knee), RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle), DT Letroy Guion (chest), G Charlie Johnson (elbow/toe), WR Greg Jennings (Achilles’) and QB Christian Ponder (shoulder) were limited. FB Jerome Felton (back), CB Chris Cook (hamstring), LB Chad Greenway (wrist), T Phil Loadholt (concussion) and S Jamarca Sanford (groin) were full participants.
• Seattle: CB Brandon Browner (groin), CB Jeremy Lane (thigh) and DT Tony McDaniel (hamstring) did not participate. CB Richard Sherman, FB Derrick Coleman (hamstring), WR Percy Harvin (hip), RB Marshawn Lynch (knee), C Max Unger (concussion), LB Heath Farwell (knee), DT Jordan Hill (biceps), DE Red Bryant (concussion), S Kam Chancellor (hip), T Breno Giacomini (knee), S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) and LB Bruce Irvin (shoulder) were full participants.