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7-on-7: Adrian Peterson returns to practice, Kevin Smith does not

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Adrian Peterson

Today, we offer a special running back-heavy edition of 7-on-7. Many are broken, few have practiced, perhaps one or two might play...

It's always best to begin with the good news. Here's the latest on Adrian Peterson, via Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press:

Adrian Peterson returned to practice after missing most of the past three weeks with a high ankle sprain. Peterson, who is questionable for Sunday's game against Detroit, caught backfield passes in running back drills during the early portion of practice.

So that's promising. All Day clearly has a shot to return for the Detroit game in Week 14, facing a Suh-less, Delmas-less defense. The Lions have allowed 125.0 rushing yards per game and 4.8 per carry. This is, without question, a strong match-up. Let's hope for another rosy practice report on Friday.

Now here's the distressing news, if you're a Vikings fan (or perhaps a fan of another NFC team that would benefit from a Detroit loss):

Quarterback Christian Ponder (hip pointer) missed his second consecutive practice, which could pave the way for Joe Webb's first start of the season should Ponder's swelling persist. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said today that Ponder "didn't look too good walking yesterday."

That's no good. And before you ask: No, Webb does not have WR eligibility.

Kevin Smith didn't practice on either Wednesday or Thursday, still apparently struggling with the ankle injury, aggravated in Week 13. We've had this drill a few times before, of course. Maurice Morris gets the bump if Smith is unable to go — and even if Smith does return, the risk with him is clearly elevated.

Willis McGahee (knee) took most of the drama out of his injury situation on Wednesday, telling reporters that he expected to play against the Bears in Week 14. But it's worth noting that he's been held out of practice this week, Thursday included. McGahee has topped 100 rushing yards in back-to-back games and he's reached triple-digits six times this season, so you won't be sitting him if he's upright on Sunday.

Mark Ingram has the turf toe, so that's not good. He hasn't practiced this week. On Wednesday, he discussed the properties of toes:

"It's an injury that can vary. For some people, it can linger for a while. For others, it can turn the corner fast. Hopefully these next few days, it feels better and I can be ready to go."

[...]

"If I feel like I can bring my best to the table, I'm gonna go," Ingram said. "If I can't, I'll sit if that's what's best for the team. But I always wanna try to go."

You really hate to bet on any injured Saints back. This feels like a Pierre Thomas-Christopher Ivory sort of week. Darren Sproles should of course have his usual role, and figures to be plenty useful.

No one expected to read that Darren McFadden returned to practice, right? Good, because he didn't. There's no reason to think he'll be available to face the Pack in Week 14. Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore aren't practicing yet, either, troubling those of us who are forced to start Carson Palmer.

The tender-groined Michael Turner was a limited participant in Thursday's practice, as was Julio Jones (hamstring). No reason to think either will sit on Sunday. The Burner gets the best possible match-up for any back, facing a Carolina defense that's allowed the most fantasy points to the position this season. The Panthers also lost a pair of tackles this week, Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, so a sad defensive front gets sadder.

There's no obvious reason to think Green Bay's James Starks will be available in Week 14. He aggravated an ankle injury on Sunday, hasn't practiced this week, and was called "longshot to play" by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein. As we've discussed previously, Brandon Saine seems like the proper PPR play, and clearly Ryan Grant gets an uptick in value (from nothin' to just above nothin'). Grant averages 3.4 yards per carry and hasn't visited the end zone this season; Oakland's defense has allowed 5.2 YPC and 12 rushing TDs. Something must give.

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Photo via US Presswire

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