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Peterson on rushing mark: Believe it to achieve it

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and DAN WIEDERER
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • December 27, 2012 - 10:20 PM

Adrian Peterson left the Vikings' 23-6 victory over Houston last Sunday with around seven minutes remaining because of an abdominal injury that has nagged him in recent weeks.

"That was the reason I came out," Peterson said. "I felt like it was best for Toby [Gerhart] to go in at that point of time, that he would give us a better opportunity to get it in the end zone. I didn't want to be selfish just because we were down by the end zone and go in there and not be able to go 100 percent. Toby did a good job of executing and finishing that drive."

Gerhart finished the game with eight carries for 31 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown that capped the drive in which Peterson left.

Peterson didn't practice Wednesday because of the abdomen, but said, "it's feeling good."

Asked if the injury will affect him on Sunday in the regular-season finale against Green Bay, Peterson said, "I don't think so."

Peterson needs 208 yards to surpass Eric Dickerson's NFL single- season record of 2,105 rushing yards, set in 1984. He had 210 yards against the Packers in a 23-14 loss Dec. 2.

"I feel like I have a good chance," Peterson said about getting the record. "I believe it. And in order to accomplish it, you got to believe it. Deep down inside, I feel like I'll get it.

"It feels good to get those guys in our stadium and get some payback from our last visit to Lambeau."

Making it simple

After winning a combined nine games in 2010 and 2011, the Vikings have a chance to win 10 in 2012. And a victory against the Packers on Sunday at Mall of America Field would ensure a playoff berth.

So having such a high-stakes battle at home against the team's biggest rival has to be as good as it gets, right?

"I wouldn't say as good as it gets," defensive end Jared Allen said. "It's as stressful as it gets. As good as it gets would be to have this thing locked up already and be chilling on the bench. But that's not the case.

"Sometimes you have to dumb it down in this business and not over-think the situation. Everybody knows what's riding on it. But don't put that extra pressure on it. Just play this game and say, hey, if we get this game, we'll worry about the next one when it comes. We're at that point."

Next man up

The Vikings have three alternates to the NFC Pro Bowl team in center John Sullivan, linebacker Chad Greenway and offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Because there are usually a high number of dropouts -- and because Super Bowl teams won't provide players to the Jan. 27 Pro Bowl -- they have a good chance to make the team as replacements.

Greenway made the Pro Bowl last year off alternate status. With 181, he'll finish as the team's leading tackler for the fifth consecutive season. Kalil had an impressive rookie season.

If Sullivan gets in, it would be his first Pro Bowl in a five-year career that's saw him go from being a sometimes overmatched smallish late-round draft pick early on to a legitimate long-term answer as Matt Birk's replacement.

Peterson, Allen, kicker Blair Walsh and fullback Jerome Felton were announced as Pro Bowlers on Wednesday.

Etc.

• Cornerback Antoine Winfield, who has a broken bone in his right hand, sat out Thursday's practice, but is expected to play Sunday.

• Defensive end Brian Robison, still working back from a shoulder sprain suffered two weeks ago in St. Louis, was limited in practice. The Vikings are holding out hope that Robison will be able to play Sunday, even if his reps are limited.

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