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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - With the early season fervor all but forgotten, the Minnesota Vikings took to the practice field on Wednesday to begin preparations for this Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. Banged up and beaten down, the Vikes face an uphill battle on their way to competing for a spot in the 2012 playoffs.
Wednesday afternoon, head coach Leslie Frazier met the media and provided updates on a few key situations surrounding this team as they get ready to kick off four straight games against divisional opponents.
Percy sidelined for Wednesday's practice...
After arriving in the locker room Monday afternoon with the aid of crutches, Percy Harvin was officially held out of practice on Wednesday afternoon. Monday, Percy mentioned that it would be "a long shot" for him to be on the field Sunday against Detroit. Wednesday, Coach Frazier echoed that sentiment.
"Percy is doing better," Frazier said. "He wont practice today. We'll take it day to day and see how he feels tomorrow but he is making improvements."
Come Sunday, if Percy is unable to play, his spot on the field will likely be filled by rookie wide receiver Jarius Wright. So far this season, Wright has been deactivated in all nine of the Vikings regular season games but with their hand forced and Wright's week-by-week improvements, the Vikings are confident that Jarius will be ready to hop in and have an impact.
"He's really worked hard in practice," Frazier said of Wright. "He's going to prepare just in case Percy's not able to make it. He'll be working and he'll be a part of the mix as we game plan for Detroit. We think he can help us."
Inside the tunnels of Winter Park, it is widely thought that Jarius Wright has many of the same characteristics of a guy like Percy Harvin.
"They are very similar in a lot of ways," Frazier said Wednesday. "The way that we would use him is similar to the way that we use Percy if he ends up playing on Sunday."
He's getting even stronger...
Looking at the NFL rushing statistics, it's hard to believe that the NFL's leading rusher is not even eleven months removed from having reconstructive knee surgery on his torn ACL. Nine weeks into the season, Adrian Peterson sits atop the league with 957 rushing yards and six touchdowns. It's tough to describe the way that Peterson has bounced back, but there's no doubt that it's been flat out amazing.
"I don't know if words can describe how impressed myself and everyone is with what Adrian has accomplished," Frazier said Wednesday. "To play the way that he played you wouldn't even know that he's coming off of a major knee surgery. It seems that now he's beginning to get even stronger. He's looking more and more as if he never was injured. I don't know if words can really describe the admiration I have for what he's accomplished."
On pace for 1,701 yards this season Adrian is off to the third quickest nine-game starts in his career and only seems to be getting stronger. The last three weeks, Adrian has posted 153, 123, and 182 yards against a handful of pretty good rush defenses. This week, as Detroit returns to Minneapolis, AP faces a challenge in the form of the 11th ranked Detroit Lions rush defense. A challenge that Adrian has been thriving off of all season long.
"Oh yeah, [the doubts were] a motivating factor for sure," Frazier said. "To get back and prove to everyone that he could be as good or better than he was before. He said it a number of different times, 'I'm going to be better'. How could he be better than he was, he was already the best back in the league? The way he's improving, who knows what's going to happen the rest of the season."
Jerome Simpson not yet 100%...
Heading into the season, Vikings fans were going crazy over the prospect of their favorite team bringing in the high flying, flip over your defender, wide receiver that Jerome Simpson proved that he could be. Since returning from his three game suspension to open the year and suffering a foot injury that continues to baffle team doctors, Simpson has been a shell of his former self.
"[Jerome's] not where he was prior to that injury," Frazier said. "You look at the tape and you know that. He's still able to give us some things but he's not where he was at before the injury for sure."
On the season, Simpson has only been able to reel in eight passes for 109 yards. While he has had more of an impact when you factor in the three defensive pass interference calls that he has caused, Jerome still has not lived up to the expectations of being a field-stretching, play-making wide receiver.
"He doesn't have pain," Frazier confirmed "But if you recall, when we did get him back for the Detroit game, that leaping catch, that's like a trademark of his. [The injury has] taken a little bit of his explosiveness away. When that will come back all together, the doctors can't tell me."
- VIKINGS -
- Letroy Guion (foot) - Did Not Participate
- Percy Harvin (ankle) - Did Not Participate
- Jerome Felton (shoulder) - Limited Participation
- Matt Kalil (knee) - Limited Participation
- Antoine Winfield (knee) - Limited Participation
- John Carlson (concussion) - Full Participation
- Chris Kluwe (knee) - Full Participation
- Adrian Peterson (ankle) - Full Participation
- Mistral Raymond (ankle) - Full Participation
- Jamarca Sanford (knee) - Full Participation
- Jerome Simpson (calf) - Full Participation
- LIONS -
- Cliff Avril (back) - Did Not Participate
- Louis Delmas (knee) - Did Not Participate
- Calvin Johnson (knee) - Did Not Participate
- Amari Spievey (concussion) - Did Not Participate
- Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury related) - Did Not Participate
- Corey Williams (knee) - Did Not Participate
- Titus Young (knee) - Did Not Participate
- Erik Coleman (toe) - Limited Participation
- DeAndre Levy (hamstring) - Limited Participation
- Mikel Leshoure (ankle) - Full Participation
- Stephen Tulloch (knee) - Full Participation
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN