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Vikings' Peterson says decision is his when to return from injury

As Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson inches closer to a return from a high left ankle sprain that has sidelined him for three games, the balance between his health and simply wanting to play becomes paper thin.

Peterson, citing his passion for the game, wants to play. But how soon is too soon?

That self-diagnosis could raise a red flag for the Vikings' coach staff. The 2-10 Vikings, losers of four straight, have little to gain and much to risk by allowing Peterson to return too soon.

To that end, though, Peterson said the Vikings have relied on his discretion on when he can and can't play.

"To be honest with you, it's been my decision," he said. "And I've played, I've been out there on the field before at 80 percent and did pretty good. But ultimately what it's going to come down to is I'm going to have the opportunity to test it out and run on it and try to cut. And each week I've been making improvements.

"This past Saturday I stepped out and from Friday -- the day before I ran on it -- to Saturday it was like a tremendous difference as far as my top-end speed and making cuts. So I kind of figured then [this] Friday, a week after, of resting it up and doing the things I'm doing to rehab it, I'll be feeling pretty good."

It's no secret that Peterson at 80 percent is still better than most. While he clearly doesn't shy away from playing injured, Peterson is able to tap the breaks and acknowledge the concept of not putting himself at risk.

"With that being said, I'm going to make sure that I'm good. I'm going to make sure that I'm OK and I feel like I'm able to perform," Peterson said. "The main thing is just the passion I have for the game. Even being 2-10, I just want to get back out there and help my guys win some games."

Of course, if the Vikings are leaving it up to Peterson, it's likely he's back sooner rather than later.

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