MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier fought his temptation to play Adrian Peterson with a sprained foot, and won a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. And the week off for Peterson, Frazier said, could put him in better position to return next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. But the ultimate decision wasn't easy, and Peterson didn't make it any easier.
The reigning NFL MVP, who had vowed to play all week after spraining his right foot last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, lobbied to play until Sunday morning, Frazier said. Peterson told reporters in the press box before Sunday's game that the "decision was taken out of my hands." But Frazier decided it was better to "look at it globally, not just look at this one game," and in the end, the Vikings got both a win and a chance to rest Peterson.
"That was not easy, now," Frazier said. "I watched him work out on Friday. He did some good things. He did some more on Saturday that kind of clouded my mind as to what decision to make. He was pushing, all the way through this morning. I had to fight the urge to say, 'OK, give it a shot.' But I think at the end of the day, he realized it was the right thing to do. He is superhuman in so many ways, but the risk-reward, I just couldn't see it."
Frazier said he was more optimistic that running back Toby Gerhart would be able to play than Peterson, but Gerhart still wasn't able to accelerate like the Vikings wanted to see.
"We thought he was going to make it," Frazier said. "He did some good things in Friday's practice. I really thought for the longest, Toby would be the one that would be closer. But when it came to bursting, that was his concern. He was fine just hitting the holes, but once he got in the clear, he was concerned about that. You run the risk of playing one or two plays, and then he's out for another week or two, so we pulled back on him."