Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
There aren't many things that can make a 2-10 coach feel better. But having quarterback Christian Ponder and running back Adrian Peterson both practicing during Friday's light workout did the trick for Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
"That was encouraging that both of those guys were able to get some work," said Frazier, who listed both players as questionable for Sunday's game at Detroit.
For Ponder, it was his first on-field work since suffering a hip pointer in last Sunday's loss to the Broncos.
"He still has some soreness, but being able to see him drop back, deliver the ball, having his accuracy, moving around a little bit, that was encouraging because yesterday he was pretty stiff," Frazier said. "His movement was much better today. So we'll see how he feels today when he's throwing the ball around. But really encouraged by some of his movement today."
Peterson practiced on Thursday. He came of the field with a bit of a limp and admitted he was sore because of yesterday's workout, his first since suffering a high left ankle sprain against the Raiders three weeks ago. He's also missed the past two games because of the injury.
"I've made some cuts, but one thing I do know is I won't be cutting as hard as I do when I am 100 percent," Peterson said. "I would say I'm probably about 80 percent right now. That's a big improvement throughout this week. I feel like I can cut pretty good. I've made cuts going both directions. We'll just have to wait and see."
Frazier said he's seen enough of Peterson the past two days that he'll be able to make a decision on him after seeing how the ankle responds overnight to today's workout. As for Ponder, Frazier said he probably would want to put him through a workout at Ford Field before the game on Sunday morning.
"With Christian, the fact that today was his first day, if we decided to go forward with him, we'd probably want to see him move around again after a slow day tomorrow," Frazier said.
Peterson said he'd be willing to take a pain-killing shot if necessary to play. He also said he has personal goals that fuel his desire to return. One of them is a fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season. He needs 128 yards to get there.
"I'm a running back; I have team goals and I have personal goals as well," Peterson said. "That's a mark I definitely want to reach, getting to 1,000 yards. If I play this week, it will come."
As for the Vikings' other injuries, guard Steve Hutchinson (illness), defensive end Brian Robison (concussion), cornerback Asher Allen (shoulder), linebacker Chad Greenway (elbow), defensive end Everson Griffen (quadriceps), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hand), linebacker E.J. Henderson (shoulder), right guard Anthony Herrera (knee) and reciever Percy Harvin (finger) are all listed as probable. Harvin was limited in practice today. The rest had full participation.
Today's official injury report lists "illness" as the reason left guard Steve Hutchinson didn't practice.
Here's the rest injury report: RB Adrian Peterson (ankle), QB Christian Ponder (hip) and DE Brian Robison (concussion) did not practice; CB Asher Allen (shoulder), DE Everson Griffen (quadriceps), LB Chad Greenway (elbow) and TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hand) were limited; and LB E.J. Henderson (shoulder) and RG Anthony Herrera (knee) had full participation.
As expected, running back Adrian Peterson (high ankle sprain) wasn't able to do much in practice and was listed as "out" by coach Leslie Frazier for Sunday's game against the Broncos.
Not expected was the absence of receiver Percy Harvin.
"Percy wasn't able to practice today because of illness," Frazier said. "[Head athletic trainer Eric] Sugarman and his staff will give me an update when we get back in. But [Harvin] should be fine for Sunday."
Of course, anytime Percy and "illness" are mentioned in the same sentence, a migraine is suspected. Harvin has dealt with migraines since he was 10 years old. He's missed only three NFL games in three seasons because of them.
Frazier was asked if it's a migraine this time.
"No," he said.
Later, he was asked how he could be certain that it wasn't a migraine.
He said: "My first question, like your first question, was, `Is it a migraine?' They told me they were evaluating the situation and we'll let you know when you get back in. But everything that has been indicated to me is he's going to be fine and it's nothing like we've experienced in the past."
Harvin was not at Winter Park today.
That left the top three receivers as Devin Aromashodu (nine catches), Greg Camarillo (four) and rookie Stephen Burton (zero career catches).
Asked how it made him feel not having Harvin on the field.
"Oh, man," Frazier said. "Please, please, please. Let's not go down that road. We need no. 12 out there."
In other news:
Just got back from the portion of practice that's open to the media and for at least a few moments, we got to ponder the possibility of Devin Aromashodu and his nine receptions as the team's No. 1 receiver.
Percy Harvin wasn't at practice. Neither was Adrian Peterson. Or, as one observer put it, "No Peterson, no Percy, no chance."
We'll learn more from coach Leslie Frazier after practice about Harvin's unexpected absence and whether Peterson has done anything to suggest he might play on Sunday with that high left ankle sprain.
Also witnessed was: the return to practice for MLB E.J. Henderson (shoulder) and DE Jared Allen, who missed yesterday's practice because of a family matter.
In case anyone thought the Vikings weren't already beat up enough, add middle linebacker E.J. Henderson as a surprise addition to the wounded.
Henderson missed today's practice because of a shoulder injury. Also missing practice, as expected, was running back Adrian Peterson (ankle). And, of course, cornerback Chris Cook remains in paid exile, defending felony charges while the walls fall down around his teammates.
Limited in practice were CB Asher Allen (shoulder), RG Anthony Herrera (knee) and TE Kyle Rudolph (quadriceps). Players on the injury report who had full participation in practice were SS Jamarca Sanford (shoulder), OLB Erin Henderson (hamstring) and TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring).
If E.J. Henderson can't play, it's possible that Erin would move into the middle and Kenny Onatolu would play outside linebacker.
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