The Minnesota Vikings are preparing to face off against the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card playoff game this weekend and they will need their best offensive performance if they are going to get past an improving Seattle defense. With the Seahawks getting most of the defensive stars back healthy, the Vikings need the same which is why two missed practices by Adrian Peterson is a real cause for concern.
According to Ben Goessling of ESPN, Peterson has missed his second straight practice with a back injury that caused him to sit out a portion of the season finale against the Green Bay Packers. Of course this sounds off a number of alarms for Vikings' fans who know the team is going to have a hard time winning if the running back is not active. Peterson told the media that he is "ready to roll" and expects to play on Sunday while head coach Mike Zimmer clarified he is not concerned.
"It's the playoffs," Zimmer said, via ESPN.com. "He's ready. He'll be fine. He's feeling much, much better."
If for some reason Peterson suffers a setback, Jerick McKinnon will be the nod with Matt Asiata. That is not the most ideal backfield against the tough Seattle defense, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could make it work. There is plenty of pressure on the quarterback's shoulders. By all accounts, Bridgewater has improved in his second season, but a lot of that can be credited to Peterson. According to Zimmer, Bridgewater must put together more explosive plays if the Vikings are going to get the win.
"I'd like us to be more explosive," Zimmer said, via ESPN.com. "We've really had to manage things over there. We're still working on trying to get better. We're still trying to find more ways to do it, and I think we have, in the last few weeks, done more."
Bridgewater will rely on Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph along with Mike Wallace. McKinnon will stay active in the passing game while Cordarrelle Patterson handles special teams. Peterson noted that the team is focused and ready for the postseason as he remains confident that the young squad is ready for the challenge. Having wrapped up yet another rushing crown, Peterson believes the key to success for Minnesota will be to constantly run the ball.
"Just continue to run the ball well," Peterson said, via ESPN.com. "Number one, I would say, 'Be physical.' Continue to run the ball well, and be able to pass the ball. I feel like we're balanced as an offense. We have the tools and the people in the right position to be able to accomplish anything."