The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 26, 2013

Vikings still have work to do

(Continued)

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was better than he has been, but was it good enough? Minnesota spent extra time last week working to get their offense going after a pair of lackluster preseason games, and Ponder showed some improvement.

He went 17 for 23 for 116 yards and two touchdowns, a step up after two unimpressive outings and a 28.3 passer rating.

"We started off a little slow but we did end on a positive note, which we are happy with," said Ponder, who welcomed the return of star running back Adrian Peterson for a brief appearance.

San Francisco's Kendall Hunter played in Sunday's game and that, in and of itself, was a big positive. His first carry since tearing his left Achilles' tendon in late November was a memorable one: a 15-yard burst.

Just being on the field was a big deal. He was only cleared for full practice Aug. 10.

Hunter, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 out of Oklahoma State, had 72 carries for 371 yards and two touchdowns last season in an increased role as the team's second-leading rusher behind Frank Gore before getting hurt at New Orleans on Nov. 25. He later underwent surgery.

Hunter isn't putting up any fancy predictions given all of the hard work he put in just to get back on the field and provide some timely relief for Gore.

"Just to come back and show them that I'm back ready to play, and whenever they need me they can count on me," Hunter said. "So, I'm ready to prove that."

The Vikings' Adrian Peterson barely played but he said not to worry. He played only two snaps but the reigning NFL MVP insists he will be ready to roll when the season opener arrives Sept. 8 at Detroit.

"It's all about keeping your body in shape, doing the necessary things as far as conditioning and working out, just making sure your body is ready to roll."

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