"Y'all know how good he is," said Lions' linebacker Boss Bailey. "The kid's dynamic, man. He's special."
After being sidelined the previous two games with a knee injury, Peterson and the suddenly lively purple crew (Minnesota has back-to-back games without their first-round selection) will host the Lions on Sunday.
The two teams met earlier this year, in which Detroit escaped in overtime following a gutty performance by quarterback Jon Kitna. The Lions also held Peterson to just 66 yards on 20 carries.
It may have even looked like he ran for a lot of yards. There was one play where he broke through the Detroit defense and bulled his way down near the goal line.
But in the end, when you looked down at your stat sheet, Peterson's statistical output was mediocre at best. The Lions largely held the kid in check.
And even though that was only Peterson's second NFL game, the Lions are taking something from that heading into Sunday's pivotal game at the Metrodome.
The players said it was simple.
"We tackled him," linebacker Paris Lenon said. "We tackled well. Everybody pursued to the ball. We fit the runs properly."
"Everybody was doing their job," Bailey said. "There wasn't anybody trying to make a play that they didn't have to make, so to speak. Everybody was making the play that came to him, and that's what we've got to do this week."
Stopping Peterson -- not to mention Chester Taylor and Mewelde Moore -- is job No. 1 for the Lions. The Vikings are the NFL's best team on the ground, ranking first in rushing and first against the run.
The Lions have to stop Peterson and force the Vikings to pass. They picked off quarterback Tarvaris Jackson four times in their previous meeting.
Offensively, the Lions have to get their struggling passing game going. Overall, they can't play tentative.
This team hasn't played in pressure-packed games in a playoff race before, and it has shown lately.
"I think people were worrying about playing like, 'Man, we've got to win this game, we've got to win,' instead of just letting it go, just playing loose and just playing football," center Dominic Raiola said. "You can see it on tape. It's a big difference.
"People want to win so bad, I think we're pressing a lot. That might be it. I don't know exactly what it is. We put all that behind us now."
These are teams headed in opposite directions.
The Vikings started 2-5. But they have won three of their past four games, putting them back into the playoff picture.
The Lions started 6-2. But they have lost three games in a row, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
"They went this way; we went that way," Lions defensive end Dewayne White said. "But it doesn't matter what happened a month ago. It matters what's going on Sunday."
SERIES HISTORY: 93rd meeting. Vikings lead series, 60-30-2. The Lions beat the Vikings on Sept. 16, 20-17, in overtime. But that was only their second victory over them in 16 games, and it was at Ford Field. They have lost nine in a row at the Metrodome.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Catches by wide receiver Mike Furrey on Thanksgiving Day against Green Bay. Furrey led the NFC in catches last season with 98.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I know Al's good and everything, but he asked me, 'Why aren't they throwing you the ball?' I just said, 'I don't know. I can't worry about that.'" -- WR Roy Williams, recalling a conversation with Green Bay CB Al Harris on Thanksgiving Day, when Williams had three catches for 32 yards. Williams led the NFC in receiving yards last season with 1,310.