Vikings' Peterson on track to return from torn knee ligament

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on track to return to the field this week, just in time for a pivotal NFC North game against Detroit on Sunday.

Peterson tore the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee three weeks ago against Green Bay. He missed the last two victories over Oakland and the New York Giants, but the star rookie had an MRI exam on Monday that "shows excellent healing," coach Brad Childress said.

As long as everything goes as planned this week in practice, Childress said he would ease Peterson back into the fold against the Lions, splitting carries with veteran Chester Taylor.

Despite missing the past two games, Peterson still leads the NFL with 1,081 yards rushing and is second to Brian Westbrook with 1,301 yards from scrimmage.

The Vikings (5-6) have won three of their last four games to creep back into the playoff picture in the muddled NFC. Detroit (6-5) has lost three in a row after starting the season 6-2.

Childress said that Peterson lobbied to get into the game against the Giants on Sunday, but the team wanted to play it safe and give him one more week to heal.

Peterson has been "symptom-free for the last seven to 10 days," Childress said. "The next step is for him to get in practice and get knocked around."

Safety Tank Williams' sprained knee was the only injury of significance for the Vikings in their 41-17 victory over the Giants. Childress said Williams will be evaluated through the week, as will cornerback Antoine Winfield, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.

Receiver Troy Williamson was woozy after a blow to the head on a kick return, but Childress said test results were favorable and "he should be OK."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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