Vikings running back Adrian Peterson briefly left Sunday’s 38-17 victory over Chicago with a left ankle injury, but managed to return late in the third quarter.

By then, the Vikings offense had already built a 14-point lead and once the margin increased to 21 early the fourth quarter, Peterson settled on the sideline for the remainder of the game.

“If you look back on the sideline, I’m over there with a big smile on my face,” Peterson said. “So many guys contributed today. Obviously, Teddy [Bridgewater] played outstanding, along with the running back group. We had two guys get into the end zone, Jerick McKinnon and Zach Line. We tried to get Matt [Asiata] in there, too, but it felt good to be on the sideline and be able to see those young guys get in there and get the job done.”

When asked if that was the first time in his life he’s ever said it felt good to be on the sideline, Peterson paused and replied “Probably.”

Peterson said he couldn’t pinpoint what exactly was wrong with his ankle, but X-rays weren’t necessary. He hurt it after a nine-yard run when Chicago linebackers Shea McClellin and Pernell McPhee landed awkwardly on Peterson’s legs.

Peterson limped off the field and eventually walked to the locker room on his own. Before leaving the game, he had 12 carries for 56 yards to help the Vikings build a 17-7 halftime lead. Peterson ran the ball only six more times and finished with game-high 63 rushing yards while the Vikings ran for a total 129 yards.

“It wasn’t anything too serious like a broken bone or torn ligament, but it hurt like heck initially,” Peterson said. “Once I was able to put pressure on it, I felt comfortable.

“I had to fight a little bit [to get back in the game], but once I looked them in the eyes and told them ‘Hey, I’m good,’ I was able to get back out there. And once we went up by 21, it was more so ‘Be smart and let these guys go and get the job done,’ and there wasn’t any slack they had to pick up. They came in, Jerick and Matt, they did an awesome job.”

Asiata had five carries for 28 yards, McKinnon ran it seven times for 10 yards and Line had one carry for three yards. McKinnon also had four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Line caught one pass, a four-yard touchdown reception, and Asiata caught one for six yards.

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