Christian Ponder (Andy King/Getty)
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson returned to practice Thursday, but CB Antoine Winfield is working his way back slowly and QB Christian Ponder was limited with an elbow injury.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice Thursday on at least a limited basis after not practicing on Wednesday.
Peterson has been dealing with abdominal soreness for about a month but hasn’t missed a game because of it and is expected to be fine for the opening round of the playoffs Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers.
QB Christian Ponder is also expected to play, but his reps were limited Thursday because of a bruise on his throwing elbow suffered Sunday against the Packers in the regular-season finale.
“I think he’s going to be alright. He’s going to do everything he can to be sure he’s ready to go. He did a lot more stuff mental than physical right now. He should be fine,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
“It’s a little bit tight for him. He’s got to loosen up a little bit some things with it. We’ll see how he feels (Friday). He’s going to do everything he can to be ready for this ballgame.”
Frazier said the team holding Ponder out of some of Thursday’s activities was an attempt to get the elbow to “calm down a little bit.”
Ponder had a career-high 120.2 passer rating Sunday against the Packers as he threw three touchdown passes.
Peterson said Wednesday his body feels good besides the abdominal issue, which has slowly been getting better by the week. Frazier said Wednesday holding Peterson out was more of a coach’s decision as the team looks for ways to rest their workhorse running back during the week. He is coming off a career-high 34 carries on Sunday.
On Thursday, Frazier said Peterson “looked good. He moved around very well, so that was good to see.”
CB Antoine Winfield was at practice on Thursday as well, but he didn’t officially participate because of the fractured bone in his right hand that cause swelling during Sunday’s game. His participation was limited to working on the side, Frazier said, although he did go through a walk-through portion of practice.
“Just to see him move around a little bit with that cast, he was actually hitting the dummies and doing some things to jar it to see how it would feel and he said it felt great,” Frazier said. “That was encouraging.”
Frazier said Winfield is expected to play Saturday, the hand severely swelling up on him Sunday, causing him to leave the game in the second quarter. Winfield left no doubt about his availability with a new cast and the playoffs at stake.
“Absolutely. I’m not coming out of this game. I have the whole offseason to recover,” Winfield said. “I’ll be good.”
S Harrison Smith (knee) and DE Brian Robison (shoulder) were limited in Thursday’s practice, and LB Tyrone McKenzie didn’t practice and isn’t expected to play. His left arm was still in a sling as he watched practice.
DE Jared Allen (shoulder), CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), DE George Johnson (quad), P Chris Kluwe (knee), T Phil Loadholt (knee) fully practiced.
For the Packers, WR Jarrett Boykin (ankle) and CB Tramon Williams (illness) didn't participate, and RB James Starks (knee) was limited, but all other were full participants on Thursday.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.