With the playoffs out of reach, why risk further injury to the team's most dynamic player? Why not sit him for the final two weeks and make sure he is ready to go next season?
Peterson doesn't see it that way. The Vikings may be 5-9 and going nowhere fast, but he wants to be out there with his teammates until the bitter end.
"It's been a roller coaster season. It hasn't gone the way we planned," Peterson said on Thursday. "But I love to play this game. That's why I do what I do. I definitely don't think that way about it. If I can play, I'll definitely be out there on Sunday."
Peterson injured his left thigh two weeks ago when he collided with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on a handoff. He missed the game against Chicago on Monday night, the first time he's sat out since missing two games with a knee injury his rookie season in 2006.
"It's nothing like a torn ligament or anything like that," Peterson said. "I don't feel like I can do any further damage to it. It's basically just a quad. Muscles are just tight. Pushing it will probably help it stretch a little more."
Peterson did some running in practice on Thursday for the first time this week and interim coach Leslie Frazier said he has improved dramatically over the last several days. If he cannot play, rookie Toby Gerhart will get the bulk of the work.
The Vikings lost 40-14 to the Bears and have been outscored 61-17 in the last two weeks, showing signs that some are packing it in and thinking about the offseason. Peterson is not among them. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and said he hopes to play Sunday night.
The star running back has been one of the few bright spots for the team in such a trying season. He has rushed for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns and appears to have solved his fumbling problem. After leading the NFL with 16 fumbles over the previous two seasons, Peterson has not lost one yet this year in 280 touches.
"That's a story that's not been written about enough, the kind of year he's having, even though our team is not having a great year," Frazier said. "But Adrian, he is having a Pro Bowl season, there's no question about it."
Brett Favre missed practice again on Thursday with a concussion, and Frazier said the 41-year-old quarterback was still experiencing some symptoms from the injury. Favre will go through another concussion test Friday, as will safety Madieu Williams.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams also missed practice for personal reasons, but Frazier expected him to return on Friday.
Frazier said none of the Vikings who had concussions this season played the week after being hurt.
"It can vary from person to person. Some guys respond a little bit better," Frazier said. "But in this era, where we're very cautious when it comes to head injuries, you're just very cautious. But it varies from guy to guy. Some guys have fewer symptoms than another two days later or a day later."