The Minnesota Vikings (4-1) travel to Washington D.C. for Sunday’s match-up against the Redskins (2-3). The Vikings will look to go to a surprising 5-1 record at FedEx Field, where the Redskins have lost their last eight games.
Below are top stories and injury notes heading into Sunday’s game.
AP returns to scene of knee injury: Last time the Minnesota Vikings played AT Washington was Christmas Eve 2011. RB Adrian Peterson’s season was ended with one tackle by safety DeJon Homes.
“Of course, of course,” Peterson said, smiling in the Vikings’ locker room on Thursday when asked if he would like a little revenge. “I’ll make sure I have my shoulders low. He might be trying to go for the ankles. But I’m just going to go out and play ball, have fun.”
A little over nine months since AP’s 2011 season was ended, he is back on the field nearing 100% and looking like the Peterson of old.
This year Adrian Peterson enters the week six match-up with an ankle sprain — and stop me if you heard that before. Oh wait, nope, I’m just having deja vu because Peterson entered the 2011 match-up with an ankle sprain as well.
“I wouldn’t call (the ankle) a concern, but it’s something I want to definitely get back to feeling good,” Peterson said. “I don’t think it’s going to hinder me from being able to play and push through. I’ve pushed through worse ankle injuries than the one I have.”
This year, we all hope, 2012 doesn’t end like 2011 and Adrian Peterson’s season finished in a flash.
Griffen returns to practice after death of his mother: After missing Thursday’s practice following the death of his mother on Wednesday, DE Everson Griffen returned to his team in preparation for Sunday’s game.
“My mom, she would have wanted me to come back,” Griffen said.
Griffen will play with a heavy heart on Sunday, but will do so in his mother’s honor.
“I know she’s down watching over us right now. Whatever I can do on the field for her, she loved to watch me play. That’s why I’m back here, to show her that I’m doing this for her and not just for her — for me, too, to grow into the man that I’m becoming. Just working hard right now.”
It would have been understandable if Griffen choose to stay away in order to mourn the loss, but he came back in order to play for her and to be surrounded by his “brothers” of support.
“Love and support and that always helps,” Griffen said. “This is the only reason I’m here — because I feel safe here. If I didn’t feel safe, my mom, she would tell me. …
“It’s always good to have that security and knowing that other people got your back and loved and it kind of eases the pain a little bit. But it’s still a tremendous and deep burning inside. You’ve just got to keep on the same path and keep moving on.”
Condolences to the Griffen family.
Vikings defense shown great improvement: The first two weeks of the season, fans were constantly reminded of the 2011 Vikings with many “ut-oh” moments of giving up big plays while on defense and the inability to get off the field on third down. Ever since their week two loss to the Colts and CB Antoine Winfield’s speech, the Vikings defense has been tremendous. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski sung the Vikings’ D praises on Friday’s Mike and Mike:
“Defensively, when I watched them this week, they just jumped out at me,” Jaworski said. “Obviously they have Jared Allen, Kevin Williams playing great inside. I mean Chad Greenway is flying around making plays all over the field. Antoine Winfield is a wily, old veteran that is healthy this year.
“But that guy that flashed to me, and I know you’re at Notre Dame this morning, but Harrison Smith has been making plays all over the field. A tremendous leader, plays with great discipline.”
Veterans are buying in and rookies are stepping up to form a great team defense, or as Jaws described it, “harmony.”
- PROBABLE: WR Percy Harvin (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle), QB Christian Ponder (knee), CB Antoine Winfield (knee), OL Charlie Johnson (back) and S Andrew Sendejo (ankle)
- QUESTIONABLE: WR Jerome Simpson (back)
- DOUBTFUL: LB Marvin Mitchell (calf)
- OUT: S Mistral Raymond (ankle)
- QUESTIONABLE: QB Robert Griffin III (concussion), WR Pierre Garcon (foot) and CB Cedric Griffin (hamstring)
- OUT: DE Doug Worthington (calf) and S Brandon Meriweather (knee)
FUN FACT: The Minnesota Vikings can wake up Monday morning in sole possession of first place in the NFC North with a win because the Chicago Bears, who they are currently tied with, have a bye this week.