Adrian Peterson is only 14 yards behind league leader Arian Foster in rushing yards. After a 231-yard game in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Foster has 406 rushing yards and Peterson now has 392.
"I've got the mindset that I know that I'm the best. In my mind and my heart I know that and I believe that," Peterson said. "Really, that's all that matters for me. I really don't care about other people saying, 'Oh, I think Chris Johnson (last year's rushing leader) is the better back and this and that.' It doesn't matter, because as long as I know in my heart that I am and I'm working to be that player, then I'm going to continue to rise and move forward."
He's done that in the last two games. With back-to-back 100-yard games, Peterson is nipping at the Foster's heels for the league lead. Johnson is now fifth with 301 yards.
With an offense that has struggled in the passing game despite the presence of Brett Favre, Vikings coach Brad Childress believes Peterson might be underappreciated.
"Adrian kind of gets overlooked in this whole deal. You go through getting pummeled in the offseason (for fumbling). These games that he's strung together here, you see an explosive, strong, hell of a running back," Childress said. "He's really doing some good things and being patient with those runs and taking great looks at them."
Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson has seen the improved patience with Peterson and that's allowed the offensive linemen time to get to the next level and block linebackers.
"I think there were a number of times last year where either we didn't do a good enough job and for whatever reason I think Adrian and the offensive line really weren't on the same page a lot of the time," Hutchinson said. "I think he did a good job of kind of reviewing last year and we did a good job. We knew we had to pick up the run game. I think it was kind of a collective thing where we all just had to step it up and make sure we were on the same page."
Against Detroit on Sunday, Peterson rushed 23 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard run, the longest of his career and the fourth-longest in Vikings history. His 160 yards are the most in a single game this season in the NFC and his 80-yard run is the longest in the NFL this season.
He said he learned last year that added weight doesn't necessarily make him a better running back, but he still doesn't believe he would have been caught from behind had that play opened up for him last year.
"I don't ever think someone can catch me. That's just the way I think," he said. "But I must say this offseason I really made it a focus point that I would get faster, get my legs fresh. I can see where the work is paying off."
"Obviously it gets thrown on the field, but there are always ones that I think are good effort plays. I call them the way I see them. If I think it's a hell of a play, like I think Hank Baskett's block on that reverse is a hell of play, just the way we coach it," Childress said. "Wouldn't coach it any different. It's a great effort play to put that guy on his back. I thought he did a great job with that one."
"I think they are going to live, both of them," Childress said. "And that's all they've got to do is live until next week when I have to give you an injury report."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.