Adrian Peterson made one point perfectly clear Thursday as he and the Vikings prepare for the suddenly red-hot Detroit Lions – he's mad.
That's usually not a good idea and the Lions are going to have a motivated, angry man running the ball with bad intentions Sunday. Peterson said his competitive spirit gets tested when his team doesn't succeed.
Peterson hasn't often been around losing teams, primarily because he has been on them. But, coming of a 6-10 season in which the Vikings similarly started off 0-2 after losing their home opener, Peterson said it has been a test of his patience.
"It's been tough," Peterson said. "Just losing, period, and losing in the fashion that we've lost. It's been frustrating. But I'm solid mentally. I'm looking just to put it behind me. It's still there in my head, but the thing I need to focus is on the upcoming week and move forward. What's in the past is in the past."
Peterson said he knows the Vikings are being viewed as an underdog – the first time in 25 years the Vikings have been a home dog to the Lions. He saw the talent of the Lions on film long before the team was taking on bandwagon passengers.
"I've always said the Lions were good and had talent and were a team on the rise," Peterson said. "We look at them the same way – a team in our division we need to get a win and accomplish our goal. It won't be any different at all."
Peterson has enjoyed good success against the Lions. In eight career games, he has rushed for 811 yards, caught 20 passes for 134 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Better still, in four games at the Metrodome, Peterson has rushed 81 times for 507 yards and six touchdowns – topping 100 yards in every game. More importantly, the Vikings have won all four of those games.
Peterson said the Lions are a standard 4-3 defense and try to beat people the old-fashioned way. They don't mix up coverages and blitz packages that much. The only difference he sees in them from what he's faced is the defensive philosophy varies from what he faced from the Chargers and Buccaneers.
"It's just different," Peterson said. "They're just a base defense. They don't show too much. We'll prepare for anything that they bring. As far as the front, they have one of the better defensive fronts, but, then again, we have a job to do and our guys up front to establish the line."
When asked if, in this critical game, he has lobbied the coaching staff to put the offense on his back, Peterson said he hasn't been vocalizing anything but is prepared for as many carries as the offense is willing to give him.
"I'm not lobbying to do anything other than do my job," Peterson said. "I let the coaches do theirs. I can handle 100 carries, 25 carries, 30, 40. However many times they give it to me, I'm going to take it and run 110 percent. That's why I've got the nickname ‘All Day.'"
One thing Peterson knows is that the best way to stop the Lions' current swing of momentum is to help beat them down defensively with a steady diet of running plays. He's going to be facing eight men in the box most of the day, but he said he isn't sure when the last time was that he played that he didn't consistently see linebackers and safeties flooding the box.
"I can't even remember," Peterson said. "It's been a long time. We have a good group of guys up front and our receivers do a great job of blocking. I think we're going to establish the run and get the run game going."
While Peterson claimed every game is a must-win game – a common theme among Vikings players this week – it can be argued that this one really is. If the Vikings lose, they will be three games behind the Lions with a home loss in hand. As such, don't be shocked to see the Vikings saddle up Peterson and take it to the Lions defense. While he won't have 100 carries, he could push 30 if the Vikings can dictate the tempo of the game early by getting the running game jump-started.
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 frustrated with losses, but focused
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