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Vikings' Adrian Peterson practicing, could play Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Zimmer was asked Wednesday morning whether Adrian Peterson's return to practice will be a lift for the team. "I don't know," the Vikings' head coach said, "you'll have to ask the team." What about Zimmer? Will he get a lift fr...

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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) stretches before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - Mike Zimmer was asked Wednesday morning whether Adrian Peterson's return to practice will be a lift for the team.

"I don't know," the Vikings' head coach said, "you'll have to ask the team."

What about Zimmer? Will he get a lift from seeing Peterson work with the team for the first time since September?

"Well, not right now," he said. "I haven't seen anything."

Whether Peterson plays Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts is undecided, but the 2015 NFL rushing champion will be a full participant in practice starting Wednesday afternoon.

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Peterson, 31, has been out since tearing a meniscus in his left knee in a 17-14 victory over Green Bay on Sept. 18. He had surgery the following week and was placed on injured reserve but has proven to be a quick healer. After tearing ligaments in his right knee late in the 2011 season, he came back to rush for 2.097 yards and win the NFL MVP Award in 2012.

Asked if it's likely Peterson will play Sunday against the Colts, Zimmer said, "I don't know; we'll see."

In a 15-minute interview Monday with dashradio.com, Peterson said he anticipates returning for a noon kickoff against the Packers on Dec. 24. Even better, he said, would be to return for a playoff game. The Vikings (7-6) remain in the hunt for an NFC wild-card spot with three games remaining.

Peterson ran 31 times for 40 yards before being hurt. Since then, the Vikings; run game has largely struggled. In Peterson's stead, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have combined to run for 742 yards on 236 carries, a 3.1-yard average, and the team rushing average of 73.4 yards a game ranks dead last among the NFL's 32 teams.

It might be unrealistic to expect Peterson to play his first game in 13 weeks after just one week of practice, but with the Vikings likely needing to win out to earn a playoff spot, any advantage is worth having - even if it's just making the opposition prepare for a ghost.

Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts would "be foolish not to" prepare for Peterson.

"If he does (play) or he doesn't, I think we'd be foolish and setting ourselves up if we didn't," he said.

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