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Peterson Ready for Challenge of Cincinnati Defense

MANKATO, Minn. — It's uncertain whether Adrian Peterson will play at all this preseason.

But the Vikings running back said Monday that he could push the issue with Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer if he wanted to.

"I think if I really press it with Coach Zim,' he'll let me get some snaps," Peterson said with a smile. "We'll see how that goes."

Peterson will travel to Cincinnati for joint practices Wednesday and Thursday with the Bengals but won't play in Friday's preseason game.

The Vikings all-time leading rusher said he's looking forward to the challenge of facing a stout Bengals defense that finished seventh in the NFL last year while allowing just 92.3 rushing yards per game.

"Going against someone different, seeing different schemes, different players," Peterson said of what he's looking forward to with the joint practices. "(They have) a great defense, obviously, and made the playoffs last year.

"They're one of the better defenses in the league," he added. "It'll be good just to practice against those guys and see them Friday."

With Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk in attendance for Monday's practice, Peterson was asked about his status on the all-time rushing list. He currently ranks 17th all-time with 11,675 yards, which is 604 behind Faulk, who is 10th all-time with 12,279 yards.

Frank Gore (12,040) is the only active player ahead of Peterson, who will have the opportunity to pass Hall of Famers Marcus Allen, Franco Harris and Thurman Thomas during his chase of Faulk.

"I'm sure it'll feel good," Peterson said. "But I'm really more focused on helping my team win each week.

"I know records are meant to be broke. It'll be cool. I'll sit back and take it all in as I gradually pass everyone," he added. "I just try to stay humble and just keep working (and) not get caught up in the hype of everything. I've got to keep putting the work in."

Fullback Zach Line helped Peterson earn his third rushing title last season when the running back tallied 1,465 yards.

Peterson praised Line for his toughness, especially after the former Southern Methodist University standout was seen with a bloodied bridge of his nose last week during practice.

"He's an underrated guy but he's like the ultimate warrior," Peterson said. "I know for the past two or three years, I've come to camp and see blood coming down his face from banging into guys.

"He's a great athlete, great hands," he added. "And he's the second all-time leading rusher at SMU."

Pruitt looks to build off strong camp performance

Two days after turning heads under the lights of Saturday's night practice, MyCole Pruitt downplayed his impressive performance.

The second-year tight end made himself known in team drills as he hauled in a pair of passes from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and another from quarterback Shaun Hill.

"I had a good stretch there where I got open on a couple plays, and Teddy found me," Pruitt said Monday. "It's just that connection we have with each other, and we're continuing to build that as the preseason and season goes along."

Pruitt was especially involved in the offense about halfway through practice when the Vikings offense was lined up in their own territory.

Bridgewater used play-action to open a window to Pruitt before the two connected on a crossing route a few plays later.

Hill later found Pruitt for a medium gain, giving the 24-year-old three catches in the span of roughly 10 minutes.

After catching 10 passes for 89 yards as a rookie, Pruitt said he's settling in nicely in his second season in Minnesota.

"I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the offense and I'm playing fast out here," Pruitt said. "Just being comfortable with not only the playbook but with Teddy as well.

"On and off the field, we talk a lot about what we see and what's going on out there," he added. "That's what one the things that's key to developing communication."

Pruitt said he's relied on fellow tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison to help enhance his overall game.

The tight end said his focus is to now carry over his strong Saturday night performance into Friday's preseason game in Cincinnati.

"I think I could have done a couple things better (Saturday), but we're out here to get better, so that's what I'm doing," Pruitt said. "As long as I'm getting better at one thing a day, I'm going in the right direction."

Minnesota's Madden rankings released

The rankings are out for the Madden NFL 17 video game, and Vikings safety Harrison Smith is the team's highest-ranked player.

Smith, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season, is a 94 overall and is the second-highest ranked free safety in the game.

Smith, who will wrap up his fifth training camp in Mankato on Tuesday, said he appreciates the local fan support during long practices.

"It's pretty much full every day, and the fans are always lining the fences," Smith said. "It's great to see them out here and it definitely makes us want to do well for them."

Peterson was the Vikings top-ranked offensive player at 91 overall. Four of Minnesota's five highest-ranked players were on defense.

Patterson returns to practice

Cordarrelle Patterson was able to return to practice with the team for the first time on Monday since suffering a shoulder injury on July 29.

"It's always fun getting out there with your receivers and competing with each other," Patterson said. "It's been a long time since I've been out there, and I'm happy to be back.

"I felt way better than I did yesterday," Patterson added. "Each day, I hope I get better and better and by the time Friday comes, I hope I'll be 100 percent."

Notes from Coach

O-Line: Zimmer spoke with beat writers on Monday about the offensive line, which was a focal point this offseason.

"I think they're doing much better. They're much improved. They're working together," Zimmer said. "They're coming off the ball physically. They don't make mental errors. [Matt] Kalil is much improved. [Brandon] Fusco is much improved, so they look a lot better to me, but we'll see."

As for right tackle, where the Vikings brought in Andre Smith and also looked at T.J. Clemmings, Zimmer said, "It's going that direction," to start Smith. Clemmings also has been working at left tackle with the second team.

He said the competition for the center spot between John Sullivan and Joe Berger is "still open."

Timelines: Ellison, who suffered a knee injury in Week 17, could be back in action by the start of the regular season. Ellison has been running on a side field and helping the position group in meetings.

View images from the Monday, August 8 practice at Verizon Vikings Training Camp.

Play of the day

Kentrell Brothers put an end to a two-minute drive in a hurry.

With the Vikings offense at its own 25-yard line with 1:21 left on the clock and one timeout at their disposal, Brothers picked off quarterback Shaun Hill on the first play of the drill.

Lining up with the Vikings second-team nickel defense, Brothers leapt up and snagged a pass away from a streaking Pruitt down the middle of the field.

The fifth-round draft pick then had the awareness to fall to the ground near midfield and not risk a turnover.

Quotable

"He looks awesome. His deep ball done got a whole lot better. You see him throwing the ball down the field. His accuracy has always been there to me. He's been one of the accurate quarterbacks in the NFL since he got here, but his deep ball got 10 times better." — Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

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