EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Star running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice Friday with the Minnesota Vikings, but he was limited in his work and remained questionable for Sunday’s game because of a hamstring injury.
Coach Brad Childress said he would wait until shortly before the game against Carolina to decide whether Peterson, who leads the NFL with 263 yards rushing, will participate. He’ll be treating the muscle extensively over the next two days.
If Peterson can’t go, Chester Taylor — a 1,200-yard rusher in 2006 — will take his place in the backfield. Either way, Taylor could assume a larger role against the Panthers. He has been returning kickoffs, too, and is sixth in the league with a 28.5-yard average.
Minnesota’s 0-2 start has created some urgency to this week, and benching quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for veteran Gus Frerotte had some desperate overtones. Childress, though, has to be even more careful about pushing Peterson too hard for the sake of a quick fix.
Peterson, who missed 2½ games due to a sprained knee in 2007, said he plans to play but must convince the trainers and coaches he’s not risking aggravation — and developing a problem that lingers for weeks — by not being at full strength.
“Sometimes you have to protect the player from himself and err on the side of caution, and sometimes you feel good about what you’ve seen,” the coach said of last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Childress said the Vikings are in a “good frame of mind” despite the uncertainty surrounding Peterson’s status and the change in quarterback this week. He suggested lineup changes can yield an atmosphere of rallying around a player, rather than erode the rest of the team’s confidence.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice was also limited in Friday’s practice and is questionable for Sunday. He sprained his right knee last week.
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