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Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota Vikings practice

Adrian Peterson is officially back at practice for the Minnesota Vikings.

The team announced Wednesday the running back was designated for return from injured reserve and will suit up for practice. Teams have one return designation per year and must identify the player on the first day he begins practicing. In addition Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said there's a chance safety Harrison Smith (ankle) could play Sunday.

The transaction backs up Peterson's comments Tuesday that he intends to play in Week 16.

"This week is going to be big for me," Peterson said, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "My plan, and my vision, is to be back for the Green Bay game. That's what I'm envisioning."

Added Peterson: "My eyes are still set on being in Houston for the Super Bowl. ... That's been my vision. With us still in the (playoff) hunt, that hasn't changed at all."

The running back suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee in Week 2. Prior to the injury, All Day earned just 50 yards on 31 carries (1.6 yards per tote average).

Peterson's potential return in a must-win game versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 could be a boon for a miserable Vikings rushing attack. Behind a porous offensive line, Minnesota ranks last in the NFL with just 73.4 rushing yards per game.

After a 5-0 start, the Vikings sit at 7-6, two games back in the NFC North and a game back for the final wild-card spot. Minnesota likely needs to win out and get some help to make the playoffs, with tilts versus the Colts, Packers and Bears remaining.

Peterson's possible return could add some juice to that drive toward the postseason. Wednesday's news was the first step.

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