Featuring the A-Train

Lake Forest - Veteran running back Adrian Peterson is looking forward to the game against the Vikings as an opportunity to get some significant on field time. Peterson is often overshadowed by Thomas Jones always seems to get yardage when it's needed most and that's a role he's happy to fill.

"I never was much after the glory," Peterson said. "For me, it was always about the opportunity to play. When a game starts, my blood gets pumping, I stand on the sidelines just waiting to get in. In my mind, I never have enough playing time."

Peterson hass already posted career highs in carries (68), rushing yards (356) and touchdowns (2).

"You can't get the totals if you're not in the game," Peterson said. "I come most often in to spell Thomas. That gives an extra dimension to the offense and an altered approach for the defense we'll be facing but it isn't necessarily the most productive situation for my stats. My role this season has been that of a dependable 'come in' guy who can find the holes and get the first downs."

The five-foot-10, 210-pound Peterson should have a chance to add to his totals in the season finale against the Vikings. Jones is expected to stay in long enough to get the 27 yards he's short of reaching the 1,300-yard mark. Cedric Benson practiced all week, but remains questionable with a knee sprain.

Peterson has been a valuable member of the 9th ranked rushing offense in the league. And for creating the holes, he gives enthusiastic credit to the offensive line.

"They've been incredible this year," Peterson said. "I've had opportunities that I simply didn't get last year when so many of the regulars were injured. Look at the time Kyle and Rex have had to make their decisions. Look at the holes Thomas and I get to run through."

When the team took Benson with the fourth pick in the 2005 draft, Peterson was unsure of his future with the franchise. But he continued to work hard and Benson missing the preseason as he tried to get a deal done with the Bears allowed Peterson to showcase his abilities.

When Jones and Benson were dinged up, Peterson carried the load against the 49ers with a career high 24 rushes for 120 yards.

Peterson claims not to have been upset by Bears choice of another running back as the No. 1 pick.

"I was a little surprised, I guess, since I'd had a good year in 2004, but that's OK," Peterson said. "I certainly have no say in those decisions. I saw the situation as more of a challenge. I had a strong college career and felt there was no reason I couldn't continue that into the pros. Since I've been with the Bears, I've shown them what I can do. I'm quick, I'm strong, and I have good moves. Now that I am getting more carries, I see it as a chance to show the coaches what I can do."

Although Peterson recognizes that the outcome of the Bears-Vikings game won't have any impact on Chicago's playoff status, he is looking forward to a victory simply as a matter of pride.

"You never want to go into a game not expecting to do your best," Peterson said. "And once the first seconds go off of the clock, it doesn't matter who you are against or what you are playing for. Every player wants to excel, and I am certainly included in that. I can't imagine going out there and not giving it 100 percent."

Peterson said that none of the Bears were concerned about sustaining a late season injury and instead were looking to the game as a chance to sharpen techniques and stay loose for the playoffs.

"Getting that bye week, I can't say enough how important that is for all of us," Peterson said. "So we know we'll have our rest coming up right after Minnesota. I can't see anyone playing to prevent injury. In fact, that's when many problems tend to occur, when a player is trying to protect himself. I think whoever is in the game will enjoy the time and use it to improve."

Peterson has suffered through three losing years with the Bears, so finally getting to the NFL's second season is long overdue.

"This is what we've been after as long as I've been with the Bears," he said. "And this year has been really satisfying. We were disrespected by so many of the national sports people before the first game this year was even played. That's insulting as the game is all about pride and accomplishment.

"Yes, we did start slow but we turned it around. That's what great teams do. We're going into the playoffs with a positive attitude and with something to prove. Watch us. We belong here and we're going all the way. Detroit in February is exactly where we want to be."


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