Adrian Peterson returns to practice, Harrison Smith could be next

The Minnesota Vikings just got a little pick me up in their push for the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings appear to be getting a little healthier just in time to make a run into the post season – if they can figure out how to get there.

In all reality, the Vikings probably need to win out and get some help to make the NFC playoffs, but it looks like they will get a couple of key players back to help that effort.

First, the Vikings designated running back Adrian Peterson to return from injured reserve. Peterson has been working out the last few weeks getting back into shape and returned to practice Wednesday.

Despite his return to practice Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that he was taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding if AP will play Sunday against Indianapolis.

Peterson has missed the last 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

The players weren't playing it so close to the vest. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford said AP's return will be a big emotional lift for the struggling offense.

"Any chance you get to add Adrian Peterson back to your lineup, I think it's a positive," said Bradford. "We'll definitely take him back in the lineup regardless of if it adds any challenges or not."

But Peterson's return was only part of the good news Wednesday.

Is Harrison Smith ready to come back?

Zimmer also acknowledged that Harrison Smith might be able to play Sunday as well.

"There's a possibility yes, even though, the report was erroneous from before," Zimmer said. "But he's doing good."

One report last week indicated that Smith's season may have come to an end because of a Grade 3 ankle sprain. Smith didn't practice Wednesday, but may be able to later in the week.

If the Vikings have any shot of making a push for the post season, getting players like Peterson and Smith back can only help.

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