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Adrian Peterson says he will play this Sunday versus Colts

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In what’s a bit of a surprise, Minnnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will play on Sunday versus the Indianapolis Colts.

ESPN’s Ben Goessling tweeted this afternoon that Peterson, in an interview with Dash Radio, said that he will play this Sunday.

As Goessling notes, the Vikings would need to make a roster move in order to activate him to the 53-man roster, but this week Peterson was designated as the player to return from IR, meaning that his return seemed to be getting close. He’s been out since week two with a torn meniscus, and even before the injury he wasn’t having a ton of success as he’s carried the football 31 times this year for just 50 yards (averaging 1.6 yards per carry).

But what better time for Peterson to return than for a matchup against the Colts? They surrendered 185 yards and a touchdown on the ground last week to the Texans (who averaged 4.5 yards per carry) and are 24th in the NFL this year in rushing defense, allowing 115.4 rushing yards per game. They’re also tied for 26th in yards per carry allowed, as they give up an average of 4.5 yards every carry. Furthermore, things are even more bleak for the Colts this weekend as they’ll once again be without starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and safety Clayton Geathers (who both missed last week’s game against the Texans), as well as defensive lineman Art Jones (who recorded eight tackles last week). So this weekend does indeed seem like the perfect opportunity to ease Peterson back into things if indeed he is healthy enough, as he’ll be facing a very weak run defense.

Peterson has had a tremendous career, as he’s rushed for 11,725 yards (16th-most all-time) and 97 touchdowns (10th-most all-time) while averaging 4.9 yards per carry (tied for 10th-most all-time among qualified players). He’s also caught 240 passes for 1,944 yards and five touchdowns, and he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, a five-time first-team All-Pro, and was the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2012. Just last season, he led the league in rushing yards and was tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns. He’s a phenomenal running back, and it sounds like he’ll be returning this Sunday to face the Colts. While it’s important to not expect a ton out of him as he’s returning from injury, facing this Colts defense seems to be a perfect time to ease him back into things.

In other Vikings injury news, they today ruled out safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Trae Waynes, guard Brandon Fusco, and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell for Sunday’s game.