After a another bruising effort in a Black and Blue division game in which he came off the field limping on at least one occasion, Peterson did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday.
"I took a shot on my right knee, my left knee, my ankle, my foot, hip. I took so many shots, but I'm feeling pretty good," Peterson said. "It was a hard-hitting game and I always expect that, especially playing Chicago."
The good news is that Peterson is expected to play on Sunday against Detroit. The better news is that the Vikings have a solid backup in Chester Taylor, who could be increasing his carries to help ease the pain of Peterson's welts.
"It's a long season, so we have a guy like Chester Taylor with the ability he has and the leadership he brings to the team. Before I got here, he was a starter and I'm sure he could be somewhere else starting also," Peterson said. "When I'm on the sideline and he's in, we're not really losing anything. We definitely know he's going to go out and give 100 percent. So when you have two, you can rotate in there. It's always good when you have two horses. It's working out pretty good and I'm sure we're going to continue it."
While his teammates know how important Peterson is to the success of the Vikings, they don't discount the value of two 1,000-yard running backs on the same team.
"(It's) very important because you take a lot of stress off of both of them, let them share equal time or whatever," said left tackle Bryant McKinnie. "Chester is becoming like a Moe Williams, like he was as a third-down back here. It's very good."
Taylor wasn't expecting to become known as a "third-down back" when he signed a four-year free-agent deal with the Vikings in 2006. Before Adrian Peterson's arrival, Taylor was 1,216-yard running back for the Vikings. Even at the outset of Peterson's rookie season Taylor was the starter and ended up gaining 844 yards on 157 carries (5.4-yard average) last year.
Despite the decrease in carries for Taylor – 80 so far this year – fullback Naufahu Tahi says he doesn't see Taylor sulking or getting antsy for more action.
"Every player wants to be out on field, wants to be part of the success that we're having. Chester had been doing a great job all year and being a team player. He's a great supporter of Adrian," Tahi said. "When he does get his opportunity, he does a great job helping the team. I don't see Chester getting antsy or being selfish at all. He's been a great team player."
Tahi said the timing of his blocks doesn't change between Peterson and Taylor – he joked that "they are both fast, so I just have to stay out of their way" – and while another team's workhorse back might get worn down in December, he believes the work ethic and ability to split carries amongst Peterson and Taylor will help at this time of year.
"I get to work with them every day, so I see how hard they work. They get stronger with time, just like in the game," Tahi said. "As the game goes on, they get tougher later in the game. Just like the season, I think they're going to get tougher. And balancing them out, taking care of their bodies and getting them the rest they need, we'll be alright."
"Alright" might be understating it a bit. The Vikings are ranked fourth in the NFL for rushing offense and Peterson is the league's leading rusher (by 87 yards) with 1,311 yards.
Taylor is nowhere near his production from the 2006 season, when he carried the ball 303 times. So far, he's only had 80 carries for 293 yards, but he is one of the league's top third-down receivers and has 33 catches (third on the team) for 291 yards.
But his opportunities seem to be increasing as the season takes its toll on Peterson. In four of the last six games, Taylor has carried the ball at least nine times. In the first six games of the season, there was only one game in which he carried the ball more than five times.
"I think they're starting to give me the ball a little bit more, but it's going toward the end of the season. We've got four more games left, so it's the best to use both of us because we've got a long season and we're just trying to keep both of us healthy."
Even the guy they call "All Day" for his non-stop energy can appreciate a break every now and then.
"We've got two guys to keep us fresh," Peterson said. "When I'm not in there pounding the ball, he's in there pounding the ball. It really wears down the defense."
Right guard Anthony Herrera returned to Winter Park Friday for the first time this week, but he didn't practice. Herrera learned after Sunday night's game that he needed to go visit his brother. His brother died early Tuesday morning and Herrera spent Wednesday and Thursday away from the practice facility while helping prepare for the funeral.
Herrera "should be good to go" for Sunday's game, according to Vikings coach Brad Childress, who said Herrera was just catching up with the game plan that was installed on Wednesday.
THE FREROTTE FLOP?
Bears DE Adewale Ogunleye was not fined for a hit that sent Gus Frerotte to the Metrodome carpet on Sunday night. The lack of a fine was not known until the media session was over on Friday. However, here is what Frerotte said on Wednesday when asked about some perceiving him as flopping after the hit:
"Well, obviously it doesn't matter the severity of (how it looked) and whether people think whatever they want to think, because I was out there and I know what happened," Frerotte said. "When you relax three or four seconds after you throw the ball, any kind of hit – a push, a shove, a hit to the head – that is late and it is not up to the ref to say it's severe or not severe, it's part of the rules that are set in the game. It's hard for me to believe that something like that happens and it doesn't get called."