Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — It appears the Minnesota Vikings will say goodbye to Mall of America Field without the man who’s run for more yards than any player in the building’s 32-season history.
Running back Adrian Peterson will be doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, coach Leslie Frazier said, after the Vikings pulled Peterson in the second half of their 42-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Peterson said Thursday his strained groin is still bothering him more than the sprained right foot that caused him to miss the Vikings’ Dec. 15 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and Frazier said the groin injury is the bigger issue for Peterson.
The decision was not made to preserve Peterson’s health in a year where the Vikings are 4-10-1, Frazier said.
“If he could play, just like last week, he’d be out there,” Frazier said. “If we felt like he was ready to go, he’d be out there.”
But Peterson also won’t get the chance to talk Frazier into letting him play, the coach said, unless something changes dramatically between now and Sunday.
With backup running back Toby Gerhart out because of a strained hamstring, the Vikings will have to return to the lineup they used two weeks ago against the Eagles, starting Matt Asiata at running back and using Joe Banyard as a backup.
If Peterson’s season is indeed over, he’ll finish the year with 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns on 279 carries. The yardage total would be the second lowest of Peterson’s career, behind only his 2011 season where he played 12 games and had a knee injury end his season.
Peterson, who won league MVP honors in 2012 after rushing for 2,097 yards, talked about a goal of running for 2,500 this year, but nagging injuries limited his breakaway speed for much of the season and left him at less than full strength to battle with the eight-man fronts many teams used to stop him. He was still leading the league in rushing at the beginning of December, though, until he sprained his foot in Baltimore and missed the Vikings’ next game.
Assuming he doesn’t play Sunday, Peterson will have logged just 18 carries for 58 yards in the Vikings’ final four games.
- Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
- Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate