Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said he will play against the Saints on Sunday. As for why he'd actually want to play for a 2-11 team on a left ankle that he says is "85 percent," well, he has his reasons.
He said he loves the game. He said he wants to help his teammates. He said he has some personal statistical goals he wants to achieve, such as the 128 yards rushing he needs for a fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season and the 165 yards he needs to break Robert Smith's career franchise record.
But that's not the only reason Peterson wants to come back after missing the past three games because of a high left ankle sprain.
"It's very important, especially for my fantasy team owners," Peterson said with a smile. "They've been giving me a hard time."
Through the magic of Twitter, Peterson gets to interact with fans more than any of the all-time great Fantasy Football point producers who have come before him.
Asked what some of these, um, "owners" have tweeted, Peterson laughed.
"They'll say, `Will you please [play]. I'll send my wife down to visit you,'" Peterson said. "Sometimes, it's like, wow. Some of the things I read on there is crazy."
So how often does Peterson respond via Twitter?
"I respond to some of them," he said. "I kind of pick and choose who I respond to. Some things are better left alone."
Unlike last week, Peterson no longer is limping. He was limited in practice and there's still some soreness in the ankle, but, as Peterson said, "I'm good enough to play."
Coach Leslie Frazier agreed after watching Peterson practice on consecutive days.
"There were some runs [Thursday] that looked like the Adrian that we're accustomed to seeing," Frazier said. "Last week, they were few and far between. But [Thursday], for sure there were a couple of bursts along the sideline where he had to cut against the grain. We didn't see that last week."
According to Frazier, Peterson has one more hurdle to clear before he's able to persuade Frazier to activate him on Sunday.
"If he has another good day [Friday], we should be in the clear," Frazier said. "As long as he finishes good [Friday], we should be in great shape."
Ponder is improving
Christian Ponder appears to have put his hip pointer behind him. For the second consecutive day, the rookie quarterback participated in all of practice.
"He's moving around pretty good," said Frazier, who pulled Ponder in Sunday's loss to the Lions because he thought the hip pointer was affecting Ponder's play. "He actually scrambled a couple of times in practice, so that was good to see. So it seems like he's going to be fine."
In other injury news, receiver Greg Camarillo passed his league-mandated, third-party concussion exam and practiced on a limited basis Thursday. That gives the Vikings four healthy full-time receivers.
Also limited in the practice were linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder), free safety Jarrad Page (hip) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (ankle).
Griffin to stay benched
Last week's benching of veteran cornerback Cedric Griffin is expected to continue into the start of Sunday's game against the Saints.
Defensive coordinator Fred Pagac was asked if he'll be going with the corners that finished last week's game in Detroit.
"At this point, when we are talking, that's how we will start this game off," Pagac said.
Griffin has struggled all season as he tries to return to form after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees the past two seasons. He was benched in the first quarter of the 34-28 loss to the Lions. The Vikings went the rest of the game with Benny Sapp, Asher Allen and Marcus Sherels as their top three corners.
"[Griffin] is obviously hurt, I'm sure," Pagac said. "But he is being a professional about it, and he's working and doing his job at this point."
Frazier to make the call
Frazier said he hasn't thought about what changes, if any, that he'll make to his coaching staff after the season.
"I'll be asked at the end of the season, 'Do you want to make any changes, what changes do you want to make or do you want to stay status quo?'" Frazier said. "And it's up to me to make that decision, what direction we want to go."