-- MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson said all week his sprained left ankle wouldn't keep him out of Sunday night's game against the New York Giants. After Peterson got back on the practice field on Friday, it appeared the NFL's leading rusher is ready to go.
Peterson was a full participant in practice on Friday, after missing the first two days of practice this week, and was listed as probable for Sunday night's game against the Giants. The running back, who was injured during the second quarter of the Vikings' win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, returned to the game in the third quarter, and a league source said on Monday that tests showed no damage to Peterson's ankle.
The running back said Wednesday he was confident he'd return for Sunday's game, in which the Vikings can secure a shot at the NFC North title with a win. The Vikings' defense should get a boost, as well, with safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr set to return from injuries that kept the pair out for the Vikings' previous two games. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is also probable to return from a foot injury that's kept him out for the past three games, and defensive end Everson Griffen is probable to play after seeing a reduced role because of a shoulder injury on Sunday.
The Vikings can clinch a playoff spot with an Atlanta Falcons loss or Seattle Seahawks win on Sunday, and they could be assured of a chance to win the NFC North -- no matter what they do Sunday night -- if the Green Bay Packers lose in Arizona on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said he would consider resting a few injured players on Sunday night if the Vikings have already clinched a playoff spot and a shot at the division title before they play, but he said he wouldn't sit players "wholesale."
"We're planning on, if guys are ready to play, playing them," he said Thursday.