The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

January 2, 2013

Vikings' Peterson wants to play special teams too

(Continued)

Priefer said he has the play cards with him on the sideline in case a scenario arose that persuaded them to put Peterson in for a kick return.

"We would show him exactly where the return is supposed to hit and let him do his magic. There's absolutely an opportunity for him to go back there, I would think, in a crucial situation," Priefer said.

Peterson beamed at the podium Wednesday when the subject of special teams came up.

"I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times. You never know what can happen," he said. "That's what I would do."

Even if Peterson never gets his chance as a kickoff returner, he's served the Vikings well with more than just running the ball. He served as a counselor of sorts for Christian Ponder, whose two interceptions deep in Packers territory cost the Vikings the game at Green Bay on Dec. 2. Seeing a look of defeat on the quarterback's face, Peterson approached his teammate and encouraged him to keep his spirits up, telling Ponder how much he's appreciated the passion he plays with.

"I just did what I felt I needed to do to help him get over that. Because this is the guy we're rolling with, and we need him to continue to improve each week," Peterson said, adding: "I feel like he got back on track, got his mind right, didn't let it dwell on too long."

Coming off a career-high 34 carries, and playing through some abdominal soreness, Peterson was also asked how his body is holding up, one year after reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

"My body feels great," he said, smiling. "I could play for 12 more games if I have to."

___

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

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