Peterson is averaging just 63 yards per game in two career starts against his boyhood team.
"They have a great front seven, particularly with the bookends they have with (DeMarcus) Ware and (Anthony) Spencer," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of the Cowboys outside linebackers. "That's their job is to put an edge on the defense and try to harness everything back up into the inside. I just think they have a good scheme, but they have outstanding players with the two ends, with the nose guard. They can wreak havoc all over. They have a longtime veteran with Brookings. They can do a lot of things with that defense.
Peterson is averaging 3.3 yards on 38 carries in two games against Dallas. This year, he is averaging 5.5 yards a carry. He said the Cowboys haven't done anything particularly different compared to other opponents.
"Those guys just really play good solid football and they've got a lot of talent. I guess unfortunately I just haven't had a breakout game against those guys," he said. "I think we've only played 'em twice. But I look forward to changing that."
One thing Peterson hasn't had in his previous games against Dallas is Randy Moss on his team. The presence of Moss, who has averaging five catches for 105 yards in seven games against the Cowboys, should change how the Dallas defense approaches the Vikings.
"After his touchdown when Favre caught him in the end zone you could definitely kind of see those guys kind of hesitate, like, 'OK, we've got to respect this deep threat a little more, get an extra guy out of the box,'" Bevell said of the New York Jets' approach against Moss. "And we were able to move the ball a little bit. In the second half, we brought Jon Cooper in (at center). He did a good job out there, being his first game really playing a full half, and the offense looked good and we were able to move the ball and be productive."
Bevell said the team tried to open it up for Moss early in the first half as well, but Favre was sacked on a play in which the Vikings had several "go" routes called for their receivers.
FAVRE LIMITED, BUT THROWING
Quarterback Brett Favre returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out the team portions Wednesday.
"He was limited, but he made some throws," Vikings coach Brad Childress said after practice Thursday.
Favre completed passes to Percy Harvin and Randy Moss during the individual portion of practice open to the media.
S Jamarca Sanford (back) and C John Sullivan (calf) returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday. CB Chris Cook (knee), DE Brian Robison (ankle), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) and S Madieu Williams (shoulder) continued to be limited. Cook, coming off meniscus surgery, is likely the biggest question mark among those.
Reserve offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (ankle) was the only Viking that didn't participate Thursday. He was wearing a walking boot Wednesday and will likely be out for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.
For the Cowboys, WR Dez Bryant (ribs/ankle) didn't participate; neither did starting C Andre Gurode, who was added to the injury report with a knee issue. S Alan Ball (shoulder), LB Bradie James (knee), DE Igor Olshansky (knee), and TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) were limited.
MOSS STILL LEARNING
Moss said this week that he doesn't know the playbook as well as he'd like to, and that showed during one sideline moment captured on the broadcast of Monday night's game.
The scene showed Moss drawing up a play for Bevell on the sidelines, leading some to believe that Moss was trying to create something new. However, Bevell said Moss was actually trying to explain a play that the team had worked on in practice, but he couldn't remember what the team called that play.
"He was describing it to me, this play, and I was trying to picture what he was saying. So he grabbed something to write on and was trying to describe it to me – ‘We had this in, what do we call it?'" Bevell said. "So he was obviously still trying to learn it. The one thing about Randy that I just learned is he's a great communicator on the sideline. He comes back and talks between plays, will tell us what he's getting, what other guys are getting in coverage. He knows how he's being played, what he's looking at, and he sees a lot of stuff on the field. So he was saying, ‘Hey, this was in the game plan, and I feel the way they're covering me over here, that this would be a good play.' He couldn't remember right off the top what it was called."
That's hardly a surprise given that he just joined the team last week after being traded from New England to Minnesota.
Moss expressed a sense of responsibility to know the playbook so he wouldn't hurt the offense. He admitted that the concepts are similar from one NFL offense to another, but the terminology can sometimes trip up players who are new to a system.
"I'm learning. I'm still having my little mistakes here and there, but I'm trying to take it more upon myself to make sure I know what I'm doing so there's no mishaps on the field because of me," Moss said.
"… I want to contribute as much as I can without being a problem or a cancer to the offense or delay of game or false starts or not knowing where to line up or not knowing my route adjustments. I don't want to be a cancer to this offense, knowing I don't know what I'm doing, because I could get somebody really, really, really killed or really hurt out there, not knowing what to do. So I study every night. I take my playbook home. I just want to make sure I'm out there for the guys, because I know they're out there for me. I just want to make sure that I have everything under control when I get there on Sunday."
Bevell said he was impressed that Moss was able to come out of the huddle and run the right plays on only three days practice.
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.