Adrian Peterson became a $100 million man last week and, while he did his part to help the Vikings offense, the poor showing of the passing game in the season opener negated many of the good things he was able to accomplish. While he is the face of the franchise, Peterson said Thursday that he isn't a one-man team and once Donovan McNabb and the passing offense get in their own rhythm, everything will fall into place.
It was pointed out to Peterson that 14 of the NFL's 32 quarterbacks threw for 300 yards or more in the first week of the season, implying that running backs may not be as critical to team success as they have been in the past. While the question failed to address the obvious flaw in the logic – that quarterbacks will start dropping like flies if they drop to pass 40 or 50 times every game – Peterson said that running the ball is still a key to winning in the NFL and finding a good mix between the run game and the downfield pass game is the recipe for success, despite early numbers to the contrary.
"It all goes hand in hand, it opens up the running game and vice versa – the running game opens up deep opportunities," Peterson said. "I feel it's extremely important. I don't see too many teams out there passing the ball on every down. Even if it's a team like the Colts, they always hand the ball off a couple times to keep the defense honest. Some teams use the run more within their scheme and some don't."
The Bucs aren't an ideal opponent to get the offense jump-started because they do a lot of things well defensively. Peterson said the Bucs have a formidable defense, but, as the Vikings look for their first win of the season, it's about executing what they do well and not getting overly concerned about what the Buccaneers do.
"They run a 4-3 defense and have good cornerbacks, but it's nothing we can't handle," Peterson said. "It's going to be all about what we do offensively."
There remain some lingering questions of how a new offense and a new quarterback are meshing for the Vikings and some of the finger-pointing from the media talking heads have singled out offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Peterson said he remains excited about the offensive potential of the Vikings offense and that the Week 1 sputtering was an aberration that will be corrected.
"I've got a lot of confidence in him," Peterson said of Musgrave and his offensive scheme. "He's a great guy. He's smart. I feel like he always puts us in position to win."
Peterson said his confidence in the Vikings and the future of the franchise with Leslie Frazier as head coach and Musgrave as the offensive coordinator were key factors in him signing his $100 million deal that will go a long way to making him a Viking for life. While the money was an important factor in putting pen to paper on the contract, Peterson said the primary reason he signed his long-term extension was because he believes the Vikings have the core of coaches and players to finally bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Minnesota and that the commitment the Wilf ownership group has made to keeping the team as strong as possible was his primary motivation to sign his new contract.
"That was the most important thing," Peterson said. "If I'm here, I'm going to be in an organization with a head coach – offensively and defensively – that will have an opportunity to compete for a championship. When I look around in the locker room, the guys we have here, Coach Frazier and the surrounding cast that we're going to be able to do that. [I] just had faith that this organization will continue to bring in guys to do that and bring in guys that are going to help us reach that goal."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Peterson preaches patience with offense
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