Frazier brings back the run

The Vikings were committed to the run when Brad Childress first arrived in Minnesota, but they got away from it at some point along the way. Now interim head coach Leslie Frazier is bringing the team back to basics.

When Brad Childress was hired as the Vikings' coach in 2006, he made it clear he wanted his team to establish itself up front as being strong in the run game and equally as strong in stopping the run.

Somewhere along the way, the Vikings got away from that philosophy on offense — a fact that clearly bothered Leslie Frazier. Frazier went to work on correcting that last week after he was named interim coach following Childress' dismissal.

The Vikings had a season-high 38 rushing attempts and Brett Favre threw 23 passes, his second-lowest total of the season, Sunday in a 17-13 victory at Washington.

Frazier made it clear he won't be going away from that approach this Sunday when the Vikings play host to the Buffalo Bills in the first of three consecutive games at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome.

The Bills have the NFL's worst run defense, giving up 167.4 yards per game. What remains uncertain is who might be carrying the football for the Vikings.

Adrian Peterson suffered a sprained ankle in the second quarter against Washington, and it likely will be a wait-and-see situation in terms of whether he is able to play this week.

Peterson, who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, has not sat out a game since his rookie season in 2007 when he sat out two in a row after suffering a knee injury in Green Bay. Peterson's consecutive-games streak stands at 51.

If Peterson can't go, Toby Gerhart will get the bulk of the work. The rookie second-round pick out of Stanford established season highs Sunday when he gained 76 yards on 22 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown.

No matter who plays, Frazier is going to stick with a run-first philosophy that seems to be just fine with Favre. That's interesting because if the Vikings had taken this approach when Childress was the coach, it likely would not have been greeted with open arms by Favre.

Favre and Childress had an icy relationship, and part of the problem was Childress didn't seem to embrace Favre's ideas.

Frazier, on the other hand, is more than willing to listen to suggestions. Favre appeared to roll out and set up play-action passes far more often against Washington, meaning that even if he didn't throw a lot, he still felt very involved.

"I didn't approach it with him as being conservative — I just let him know along with our offensive staff what I thought we needed to do to win," Frazier said of Favre. "Brett wants to win as much as anyone in that room, and all our players want to win.

"He's been very supportive of some of the changes that we've made and some of the changes we've talked about making going forward. Everybody wants to win, and so he's been all in. I appreciate him for that, and hopefully things we're trying to do will help us continue to reach our goal as a team, and that's to go out and win this weekend against Buffalo."

SERIES HISTORY: 12th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 7-4. Buffalo won the past two meetings, beating the Vikings 45-39 in overtime in 2002 in Minneapolis and 17-12 in 2006 at Buffalo. The Vikings are 3-1 against the Bills at home.


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