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Sam Bradford: Adrian Peterson’s return to practice ‘a definite lift to our guys’

It still remains unclear if and when Adrian Peterson will return to playing in games for the Minnesota Vikings. But Sam Bradford says the running back simply returning to practice on Wednesday is enough to give the players on the team’s beleaguered offense a much-needed boost.

“I think he’s just one of those guys. He has been a leader on this team. Obviously, he’s one of the best players in this league, and he has been for quite some time,” Bradford said, via the Star Tribune. “I think just having him back out at practice in the huddle, I think it’s a definite lift to our guys.”

Peterson this week targeted a Week 16 match-up with the Green Bay Packers for his return after suffering a torn meniscus during a Sept. 18 win over the very same Packers.

Much has obviously changed with the Vikings offense since Peterson went down. The offensive line been a revolving door of injured players, highlighted by losing three offensive tackles that left the team piecing things together on the fly.

Not only that, offensive coordinator Norv Turner abruptly resigned and the keys were handed to tight ends coach Pat Shurmur.

Peterson’s return — if and when it occurs — obviously would be a tremendous boost to the team’s woeful rushing offense. It’s clear that the combination of the aforementioned offensive line woes and the inefficiency of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata has led to a practically nonexistent running attack. Bradford has been left to pick up the pieces and deserves credit for doing an admirable job of it.

It warrants mentioning, though, that it wasn’t like Peterson was lighting it up before his knee injury. The former MVP rushed for only 50 yards on 31 carries, a paltry 1.6-yard-per-carry average.

But anything would help at this point, as the 7-6 Vikings will need to win their remaining three games t0 likely make a bid at reaching the postseason.

“Any chance you get to add Adrian Peterson back to your lineup, I think it’s a positive,” Bradford said of the potential for issues related to Peterson abruptly returning. “So I think we’ll definitely take him back in the lineup regardless of if it adds any challenges or not.”