It's only three games, but Adrian Peterson appears to be more aware of how he holds the ball. While he's near the top of the league in rushing yards, he hasn't fumbled the ball once this season.
Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson
will be unable to build on his hot start for the Vikings this weekend but that's only because the team has an early-season bye.
Peterson was the offensive catalyst in the Vikings' 24-10 victory over Detroit on Sunday, rushing for 160 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns and catching five passes for 30 yards.
His day included an 80-yard touchdown run that was the longest of his career. While Peterson's rushing success has been instrumental to a team that has yet to find any rhythm in the vertical passing game, there is one statistic that stands out above all others when it comes to the running back.
Peterson has 70 rushing attempts and 13 pass receptions but no fumbles. That is huge for a guy who has an NFL-high 20 fumbles (13 lost) in the regular season since entering the league in 2007.
Peterson elected to spend almost the entire offseason working out near his home in Houston and thus there were plenty of questions about his issues with holding onto the football and if he was really committed to changing his ways when it came to how he carries it.
While it's only three games into the season, it's certainly a start.
"First of all, it's all mental," Peterson said. "Secondly, just studying yourself. ... Just keeping it high and tight and going out there and not thinking about it. So that's pretty much how I cleaned that up."
Vikings' coach Brad Childress referred to all the offseason focus on Peterson's issue by saying he got "pummeled by people talking about his fumbles."
"As I mentioned to you guys in my opening statement at training camp, I think so much of a light gets put on that," Childress said. "That guy is a tremendous football player and I've said before, I think he's the best running back in the National Football League. He's a great player. Typically when you carry the ball that many times the ball is going to get dislodged. He's really had this jaw locked about that."
Peterson is becoming a more well-rounded player. He was on the field for seven of the Vikings' 11 third-down plays — a role that used to belong to Chester Taylor, who is now in Chicago — and has a team-leading 13 receptions for Minnesota.
RB Toby Gerhart had only three carries for 12 yards but was used four times on third down. Unfortunately for Gerhart, he lost a fumble on one of those third-down plays in the fourth quarter. The second-round pick out of Stanford figures to continue to see limited carries with Peterson going so well.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe had only one reception for 7 yards and appeared to suffer a strained right hamstring in the third quarter. Shiancoe, one of Favre's favorite targets, returned only briefly before leaving the game for good. Coach Brad Childress declined to provide any update on Shiancoe's injury until next week when the Vikings begin preparations for their Oct. 11 game against the New York Jets.
WR Bernard Berrian has only five receptions for 38 yards in two games, not exactly the numbers you would expect from a team's No. 1 receiver. Berrian was the intended target of four passes on Sunday, including one deep ball that he couldn't get to.
WR Percy Harvin made a nice diving catch of a 24-yard pass in the end zone in the first quarter against Detroit and finished with a team-leading six receptions for 62 yards. Harvin continues to battle a strained right hip that makes it difficult for him to cut at times.
WR Greg Camarillo has taken over as the Vikings' punt returner. He averaged 5.8 yards on five returns Sunday and had two returns wiped out by penalties on the Vikings. Camarillo also caught two passes for 16 yards.
CB Chris Cook played in his first regular-season game last Sunday after missing the opening two contests because he had undergone surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the third exhibition game. Cook, who finished with four tackles, was used at the left corner in the nickel as starter Antoine Winfield slid inside to cover the slot receiver.
CB Cedric Griffin returned last Sunday after tearing the ACL in his left knee last Jan. 24 in the Vikings' loss to New Orleans in the NFC title game. Griffin started and played the whole game at right corner. He had three tackles.
DT Jimmy Kennedy returned Sunday after being out since the Vikings' second preseason game because of a knee injury. Kennedy was used as part of an occasional rotation at defensive tackle.
S Tyrell Johnson, the Vikings' second-round pick in 2008, was inactive for the first time in his career Sunday. That showed exactly how far Johnson has fallen on the depth chart. Last season he was the starter at strong safety but that job now belongs to Husain Abdullah.