Fantasy owners are now faced with the prospect of having to vie for a spot in their league's championship without the help of the NFL's reigning MVP. According to Vikings reporter Sean Jensen, Vikings players were told Saturday night that running back Adrian Peterson will not play against the Eagles. To make matters worse, Jensen reports that running back Toby Gerhart is also unlikely to play due to his hamstring injury. That leaves a couple of undrafted, vastly inexperienced players, Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard, to handle the team's backfield.
Peterson sprained his right foot in Week 14, and while he was able to go through a light practice Friday, and head coach Leslie Frazier sounded optimistic about his playing status on Friday, Peterson admitted after practice that he still felt pain in his foot.
Gerhart also didn't make out of last week unscathed as he strained a hamstring in the closing stages.
Asiata has played in nine games this year, all on special teams. He has three carries for 9 yards in his career. Banyard hasn't played in a game during his two-year career and was just called up from the Vikings' practice squad on Saturday.
This is a punch to the gut for many owners. It's one thing for Peterson to be inactive -- that was fairly expected. But no Gerhart, too? Asiata, a stocky and slow third-year player from Utah, is the best bet to lead the team in carries, but he is only a desperation flex. Philadelphia has a decent run defense that has played better in recent weeks. Speaking of which, I think this news moves the Eagles' defense up a few notches. A matchup against a Matt Cassel-led, one dimensional offense is pretty tasty. But because the Vikings have no dependable options at RB, you have to think they will throw more. Thus, Cordarrelle Patterson gets a boost here, facing the most generous defense to fantasy wideouts.