With run-stuffing rookie Sedrick Ellis out for the Saints, Gus Frerotte attempting multiple deep throws to keep the defense honest up front, and a back-and-forth game going down the wire, the stars were seemingly aligned for Adrian Peterson to have a huge Sunday night. Instead, he rushed 21 times for a measly 32 yards and his longest gain went 21 feet.
Toss in Peterson rushing for 420 yards while averaging over five yards per carry through four games and it was a tremendously disappointing performance. The good news is that this week's home game versus the lowly Lions is an absolutely ideal matchup for a big-time bounceback. Detroit has allowed 5.0 yards per carry and 180 rushing yards per game, which rank 29th and 30th respectively.
Peterson owners and Vikings fans have been waiting for Purple Jesus' next truly massive effort since his record-setting evisceration of the Chargers in Week 9 of last season and everything points to an explosion Sunday. Frerotte and Bernard Berrian have displayed enough big-play ability to keep defenses from completely selling out for the run and on paper the Lions have no chance to stop Peterson.
While Peterson tries to crack 150 total yards for the sixth time in 20 career tries, here are some other notes from around football .
* Marques Colston said as recently as Saturday that he was shooting for a Week 8 return from thumb surgery, but has apparently made a tremendous amount of progress since then and now has a chance to actually suit up this week. It seems likely that he'll be a game-time call Sunday against the Raiders, but the fact that Colston was able to put in back-to-back workouts is a great sign for his status.
Colston owners will need to check and double-check his condition leading up to the early Sunday afternoon kickoff, but if he's in the Saints' lineup you'll definitely want him in yours as a low-end WR1. Along with Colston's sudden improvement, Jeremy Shockey showed some signs earlier this week that he could be ready to return from hernia surgery that was expected to sideline him for most of October.
Shockey's progress has unfortunately slowed since then, but coach Sean Payton continues to hold out hope that he may be available Sunday. However, Shockey owners with another decent tight-end option on the roster can feel free to wait an extra week to rely on him. David Patten doesn't look ready to return from a groin injury, leaving Lance Moore as a solid WR3 option for at least one more game.
* Brian Westbrook has certainly shown that he's capable of playing through pain in the past, but all signs point to him sitting out Week 6 with a pair of broken ribs. Westbrook sat out his second straight practice Thursday, saying that his ribs hurt when he "sneezes, turns, twists, or makes a sudden move." He may end up as a game-time decision, but fantasy teams should prepare for life without him.
Philadelphia has a Week 7 bye, so giving Westbrook a lengthy break makes a lot more sense than forcing him back at significantly below full strength. If he indeed sits against the 49ers, Correll Buckhalter becomes a solid low-level RB2 option. San Francisco has struggled to defend the run so far, and Buckhalter totaled 90 yards and a touchdown starting in Westbrook's place in Week 4 against Chicago.
* Jon Kitna looks unlikely to play through back problems this week after spending Thursday's practice riding an exercise bike. Holding out hope that Kitna could be a game-time decision has kept the Lions from officially naming a fill-in, but Drew Stanton revealed Thursday that he expects Dan "The Pitbull" Orlovsky to get the call over him against the Vikings.
Minnesota's pass defense is improved and Orlovsky figures to struggle in his first NFL start regardless of matchup. Plus, he'll probably be on a short leash thanks to Stanton waiting in the wings. He's not a fantasy option, but the bigger issue is how he'll distribute targets. Of the 23 throws Orlovsky made after replacing Kitna in Week 5, 10 went to Roy Williams and just two went to Calvin Johnson.
Two-Minute Drill: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said Thursday that Willis McGahee is close to full strength heading into a highly favorable matchup versus the Colts . Asked Thursday about reports of San Francisco's interest in trading for T.J. Houshmandzadeh, coach Marvin Lewis said "you're going to get a club in trouble for tampering" and called them "bad rumors" . After being held without a catch in his season debut last week, Chris Henry said Wednesday that he's "not expecting to have a big day" in Week 6 . Eli Manning and the Giants are said to be working on a contract extension that will top the seven-year, $99 million deal signed by brother Peyton Manning . Now that Maurice Morris is healthy again, Julius Jones stops being a reliable week-to-week RB2 option . Coach Jim Zorn said Thursday that rookie Devin Thomas isn't "ready, really, to take on any kind of responsibility" because he's "having to spoon-feed him there" . As expected, Jeff Garcia took first-team practice reps Thursday and is set to start against the Panthers . Ronnie Brown has quietly rushed for 100-plus yards in six of his last eight full games spanning two seasons and is gradually regaining RB1 status.
Red Zone:Kellen Winslow missed his second straight practice Thursday with an undisclosed illness . Anquan Boldin (sinus surgery) is a long shot to suit up this week after missing another practice Thursday, so Steve Breaston is again a solid WR3 option . LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and is a near-lock to play this week . Justin Fargas (groin) practiced fully Thursday while Darren McFadden (toe) was limited, making Fargas a much better fantasy bet . Roddy White (knee) sat out practice Thursday after colliding with Lawyer Milloy during Wednesday's session . Eddie Royal (ankle) put in a limited practice Thursday, but indicated afterward that he's at much less than full strength . Vincent Jackson suffered a knee injury after slipping at Wednesday's practice and sat out Thursday's session . Anthony Gonzalez (concussion) put in a full practice Thursday and figures to face the Ravens . Mike Walker (knee) was unable to practice Thursday and will likely miss this week . Joey Galloway (foot) will probably play a limited role at best this week after participating in just some of Thursday's practice.