Notebook: Peterson surges with a FB in front

Adrian Peterson has never been a fan of running behind a fullback, but even he admits that some of his good plays have come behind Jerome Felton. The numbers say the vast majority have. Plus, Peterson talks about ball security, his tardiness to the stadium and the possibility of no Clay Matthews.

You would think that, coming off five consecutive 100-yard rushing games and the most prolific five-game stretch since his rookie season, Adrian Peterson would be happy with the layout of the offense. But, that wouldn't be completely accurate.

As Peterson fielded a bevy of questions Thursday on various topics, one that came up was whether he is feeling more comfortable running behind a fullback.

In his rookie year in 2007, Peterson forged a friendship with veteran fullback Tony Richardson, one of the pre-eminent fullbacks of the modern era. When the Vikings opted not to re-sign Richardson, Peterson let his anger be known that he thought the Vikings made a mistake. Since then, he's had something of a love-hate relationship with fullbacks.

Over the years, he complained – publicly and privately – that he didn't like playing an NFL version of "follow the leader" running behind a fullback. He would occasionally lash out at Naufahu Tahi on the field because he often saw a hole developing, hit full speed and ran up Tahi's back.

In 2011, the Vikings didn't have a full-time fullback and Peterson was fine with that. In the offseason, the Vikings added Jerome Felton, one of the better free-agent fullbacks available, to do the lead blocking for Peterson. By all accounts, Felton has done a solid job in lead blocking for Peterson, but A.P. hasn't changed his tune on his preference. He would rather be a lone gunman in the backfield.

"My preference is to be back there by myself," Peterson said. "But we've had some good plays with the fullback in there, whether it's pushing him to the safety and clearing him through, but I'm comfortable either way."

The proof of just how much success Peterson has had with the fullback vs. no fullback was provided by ESPN Stats and Information, and the numbers are pretty revealing. With a fullback, Peterson is averaging 7.2 yards a carry this season, but only 3.3 with no lead blocker. Of his 1,286 rushing yards, 985 of them have come in a two-back set, including an incredible 13 of 14 his rushes that have gone for 20 yards or more.

Asked if he has had to make some adjustments to his game to learn to run with a fullback plowing the road in front of him, Peterson admitted that, while not his ideal scenario, some big plays have popped thanks to Felton blocks.

"Yeah, you do," Peterson said about having to change his game. "In some cases, you have to be more patient and let (the fullback) get through (the hole). You've just to got to work – you and the fullback – to be on the same page.

WAKE UP, TIME FOR SCHOOL

Peterson addressed the matter of missing the team bus for Sunday's game at Soldier Field. When Peterson got down to where the busses were loading to take the team to the stadium, they were gone. Peterson hailed a cab that took him to the stadium. He showed up about 20 minutes late and Leslie Frazier was more than a little upset, saying the following day that such a situation was "a big deal."

Peterson's excuse? The simplest one of all – he overslept.

"I got in there (to Soldier Field), got warmed up and ready for the game," Peterson said. "I overslept. I slept through the alarm, through the calls. I overslept. I had the wakeup call (at the hotel), but I slept through it. It happened."

NO CLAY? NO PROBLEM

Peterson was informed that a report has surfaced out of Green Bay saying that linebacker Clay Matthews' hamstring injury will keep him out of Sunday's game with the Vikings. Arguably the best defensive player on the Packers roster, Peterson said he would welcome not having him on the field chasing him down Sunday.

"I've been preparing as if he's playing, so that's news to me," Peterson said. "We've got to go out and execute and do our job regardless. He one's one of their playmakers on defense and is a talented guy. It will definitely be easier (for our offense) if he's not out there."

BALL SECURITY

In 2009, Peterson lost six fumbles. One of the main storylines surrounding him was his penchant for coughing up the ball. In 2010-11 combined, he lost just one fumble and had only one lost fumble this season heading into last Sunday's game. Against the Bears Sunday he had two, one credited to him and one credited to Christian Ponder on a bad exchange that Peterson took responsibility for.

"They were frustrating, especially the second one," Peterson said. "That was more of a giveaway. It wasn't like they forced it out. I clamped down too early and ball bounced off my forearm. It was tough. (On the first fumble) we go up three, the defense makes a good stop and two plays later, giving it back to them and they went down and scored. It was definitely a momentum changer."


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.


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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" You would think that, coming off five consecutive 100-yard rushing games and the most prolific five-game stretch since his rookie season, Adrian Peterson would be happy with the layout of the offense. But, that wouldn't be completely accurate. As Peterson fielded a bevy of questions Thursday on various topics, one that came up was whether he is feeling more comfortable running behind a fullback. In his rookie year in 2007, Peterson forged a friendship with veteran fullback Tony Richardson, one of the pre-eminent fullbacks of the modern era. When the Vikings opted not to re-sign Richardson, Peterson let his anger be known that he thought the Vikings made a mistake. Since then, he's had something of a love-hate relationship with fullbacks. Over the years, he complained – publicly and privately – that he didn't like playing an NFL version of \"follow the leader\" running behind a fullback. He would occasionally lash out at Naufahu Tahi on the field because he often saw a hole developing, hit full speed and ran up Tahi's back. In 2011, the Vikings didn't have a full-time fullback and Peterson was fine with that. In the offseason, the Vikings added Jerome Felton, one of the better free-agent fullbacks available, to do the lead blocking for Peterson. By all accounts, Felton has done a solid job in lead blocking for Peterson, but A.P. hasn't changed his tune on his preference. He would rather be a lone gunman in the backfield. \"My preference is to be back there by myself,\" Peterson said. \"But we've had some good plays with the fullback in there, whether it's pushing him to the safety and clearing him through, but I'm comfortable either way.\" The proof of just how much success Peterson has had with the fullback vs. no fullback was provided by ESPN Stats and Information, and the numbers are pretty revealing. 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