EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - There are only two games left in the Minnesota Vikings' miserable season and Adrian Peterson is hobbling around with a painful thigh bruise.
With the playoffs out of reach, why risk further injury to the team's most dynamic player? Why not sit him for the final 2 weeks and make sure he is ready to go next season? Peterson doesn't see it that way. The Vikings may be 5-9 and going nowhere fast, but he wants to be out there with his teammates until the bitter end.
"It's been a roller-coaster season. It hasn't gone the way we planned," Peterson said yesterday as the Vikings prepared for Sunday night's game at the Eagles. "But I love to play this game. That's why I do what I do. I definitely don't think that way about it. If I can play, I'll definitely be out there on Sunday."
Peterson injured his left thigh 2 weeks ago when he collided with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on a handoff. He missed the game against Chicago on Monday night, the first time he's sat out since missing two games with a knee injury his rookie season in 2006.
"It's nothing like a torn ligament or anything like that," Peterson said. "I don't feel like I can do any further damage to it. It's basically just a quad. Muscles are just tight. Pushing it will probably help it stretch a little more."
Peterson did some running in practice yesterday for the first time this week and interim coach Leslie Frazier said he has improved dramatically over the last several days. If he cannot play, rookie Toby Gerhart will get the bulk of the work.