MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings hadn't made a decision on Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart's status as of Saturday afternoon, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and it's possible the team will work out one or both injured running backs before Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But of the several roster moves the Vikings made on Saturday afternoon, one could be an indicator they're expecting they could be thin at running back.
They activated running back Joe Banyard from the practice squad, giving them two healthy running backs before Sunday's game. The Vikings typically have three running backs (Peterson, Gerhart and Matt Asiata) and a fullback (Jerome Felton) active on game days, and in a worst-case scenario, they'd at least have Asiata and Banyard on Sunday.
Peterson and Gerhart both did some light work on Friday, and coach Leslie Frazier was particularly encouraged by how Peterson -- who sprained his right foot last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens -- looked in practice on Friday. He said Peterson's gait looked good, adding the reigning NFL MVP was able to run and cut in some of the things the Vikings asked him to do. Peterson also said he felt he could manage his current level of pain in a game, but it remains to be seen whether the Vikings will risk further injury to Peterson as they're 3-9-1 and eliminated from the playoffs.
Gerhart, who replaced Peterson and strained his right hamstring on a 41-yard touchdown run last Sunday, said he felt good on Friday, though Frazier said the Vikings hadn't seen if Gerhart could accelerate quickly yet.
If the Vikings were left with Asiata and Banyard, they'd have the same running back tandem they did in their final preseason game. Asiata ran for 32 yards and a touchdown that night, while Banyard surpassed 100 rushing and receiving yards. The Vikings also signed diminutive running back Bradley Randle -- who had been with them in training camp -- to their practice squad this week.
As expected, the Vikings activated safety Harrison Smith from injured reserve on Saturday, and put cornerback Josh Robinson on IR to make room for Smith. Robinson, who has a fractured sternum, will see his season end after struggling early in the year as Antoine Winfield's replacement at slot cornerback.
The Vikings also signed cornerback Robert Steeples from their practice squad for some extra secondary depth with Xavier Rhodes doubtful and Chris Cook questionable for Sunday's game, and waived tackle Mike Remmers.