Peterson, eager to return, will run underwater today

  • Updated: November 19, 2007 - 12:20 AM

Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson will take the next step today in his recovery from a right knee injury. Speaking after the Vikings' 29-22 victory over Oakland, Peterson said he will begin running on an underwater treadmill this morning. He could resume running on land as early as Wednesday.

"I'm going to get in the pool and try to get my leg strength back underneath me," Peterson said. "We'll see how it feels each day and go from there."

The team has not ruled out Peterson from playing in this Sunday's game at the New York Giants. But a more realistic target date is the Dec. 2 game against Detroit. Barring a setback, Peterson should get back on the field no later than the nationally televised Dec. 17 game against Chicago.

Peterson suffered a tear of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee Nov. 11 at Green Bay, a relatively minor injury that does not require surgery. He has been working daily with Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, and Sugarman told that the rehabilitation has been pain-free.

Said Sugarman: "Every single thing we've asked him to do -- and, trust me, I've pushed and pushed -- he's had no pain. I've given him things to see where he is that I thought he'd certainly struggle with, and he hasn't struggled with anything."

Taylor's big day

Chester Taylor rushed 22 times for 164 yards and three touchdowns for his second-most-prolific day as a Viking. Last year at Seattle, he broke a 95-yard touchdown run while carrying 26 times for 169 yards.

"Chester's been overshadowed the entire year, with Adrian, but I'll take Chester Taylor on my team anytime," center Matt Birk said. "He runs hard, he fights for every last yard he can get, and he came in today and did a heck of a job."

Taylor has 468 rushing yards this season; Peterson has 1,081.

No homecoming talk

Raiders coach Lane Kiffin wasn't in the mood to reminisce about the days when his father, Monte, was a Vikings assistant and little Lane was one of the team's ball boys.

"This isn't about me coming back here," said Kiffin, who had about 20 friends and family in the stands, including his mother, Robin. "Unfortunately, we lost the game today. Had a game at halftime that was tied, but we missed too many opportunities."

Kiffin attended Bloomington Jefferson, and Birk went to Cretin-Derham Hall. They both played football, of course, and they competed against each other in basketball.

Did Birk dunk on Kiffin? "Write that," Birk said. "Write that I dunked on him. I don't think there's any film of that game, so you can take my word for it."

Culpepper hugs Childress

At least six former Vikings teammates hugged Oakland quarterback Daunte Culpepper at midfield before Vikings coach Brad Childress made his way over for quick hug and a brief exchange. Childress and Culpepper clashed immediately after Childress was hired before the 2006 season. It was one of the reasons that led the Vikings to trade Culpepper to Miami for a second-round draft pick.

"He just said good luck, and I told him good luck," Culpepper said. "And that was pretty much it."

As for returning to the Dome, Culpepper said: "This stadium is very electric. ... Every game, these fans sell this place out. You know it's going to be crazy. It's a great atmosphere to play in. I love it."

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  • Injured Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, left, celebrates on the sidelines after fellow running back Chester Taylor scored the first of his three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Oakland Raiders 29-22 in a NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007, in Minneapolis. At right is tight end Visanthe Shiancoe whose 79-yard reception helped set up the first quarter touchdown.(AP Photo/Jim Mone) ORG XMIT: MNJM107

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