By Ted Fleming
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to practice on Friday after he flew to Sioux Falls, SC to be with his critically injured two-year old son. While his status for Sunday’s game is listed a “probable” (he was on the team’s injury report), things could change by game time.
Peterson said after Friday’s practice he will be ready to go and if so it will be with a heavy heart. However, if his son’s condition worsens, forcing him to return to Sioux Falls, there is really no way to replace him in the lineup, although Toby Gerhart is first up to try.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault and aggravated assault of an infant in the beating of Peterson’s son. The unresponsive child was taken to a local hospital where his injuries were described as consistent with abuse.
The Vikings quarterback situation is in a state of flux due to the signing of former Buccaneer Josh Freeman, and while he will not be ready to play on Sunday, it is unclear who will be under center against the Panthers.
Starter Christian Ponder has been nursing an rib injury and while head coach Leslie Frazier said if healthy he will start, Matt Cassel is waiting in the wings whether it be for injury or ineffectiveness once in the game.
On the Panthers side, only cornerback D.J. Moore, third on the depth chart, is listed as out, although there are three others who are likely to sit out, two of them starters.
Dwan Edwards has been dealing with a hamstring issue that has limited him to just two games this season so Kawann Short, a rookie out of Perdue, will step in.
In the secondary, Robert Lester has done a superb job since being plucked off the practice squad and installed as the starter at safety because of all the injuries two games ago. His hamstring kept him out of practice all week so Quintin Mikell will return to his regular starting spot. Mikell has been nursing a bad ankle, but was healthy enough to take part in full practice this week.
Running back Kenjon Barner, who was expected to be DeAngelo Williams’ sidekick when Jonathan Stewart was placed on the physically unable to perform list, saw his first game action a week ago and was fine this week until he hurt his foot on Thursday. Kick return specialist Armond Smith should see some time in the backfield.
The following is the injury report issued on Friday by the National Football League for the Panthers-Vikings game at Mall of America Field (64,111) in Minneapolis, MN on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013:
CAROLINA PANTHERS 1-3
- CB D.J. Moore (knee)
- RB Kenjon Barner (foot)
- **DT Dwan Edwards (hamstring)
- **S Robert Lester (hamstring)
- **S Quintin Mikell (ankle)
- **TE Greg Olsen (foot)
- DT Colin Cole (shoulder)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS 1-3
- WR Joe Webb (illness)
- **CB Chris Cook (groin)
- TE Rhett Ellison (knee)
- **QB Christian Ponder (rib)
- **K Blair Walsh (left hamstring)
- **DT Kevin Williams (knee)
- **S Jamarca Sanford (hamstring)
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.