Peterson excels no matter conditions, tactics

Adrian Peterson has had runs of 50 yards or more in five of the last six games, and the only common component is Peterson. Defenses have tried different tactics and the offensive formations have varied. We review the Peterson damage of late.

It doesn't seem anything works in trying to stop Adrian Peterson from getting explosive running plays.

Against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Peterson accounted for two of the Vikings' top three longest plays and four of the top six, and it didn't matter how much the Bears tried to crowd the line of scrimmage.
Peterson had rushes of 51 yards, 16, yards, 15 yards and 14 yards. Each of them came on first-and-10 plays in the first quarter, and each of them featured nine Bears defenders "in the box" near the line of scrimmage in the end-to-end box.

Teams with a more veteran quarterback or successful running game might check out of those running plays, but with Peterson's success and a 32nd-ranked passing game, the Vikings don't seem to care.

"We really don't worry about it. You're right about that," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "When we put together our game plan (Tuesday) for the Rams, we're going to draw it up against eight- and nine-man fronts, anticipating it. But we also try to do some things to take advantage of that in the passing game and even in the running game. We know if we can crease them just a little bit, there is a chance for a big play because they've got so many people committed at the line of scrimmage and we've seen the results of that because of what teams are doing."

While the Vikings took two shots deep down the field in the passing game – a second-quarter pass to Jarius Wright that was badly underthrown and intercepted, and a second-quarter pass to Devin Aromashodu in the end zone that bounced off his shoulder pad – it has been Peterson that has consistently provided the explosiveness for the offense.

He has five 16 runs of 50 yards or more in his career (second only to former Lions RB Barry Sanders), and five of them have come this year.

He also has a franchise-record seven consecutive games with 100 yards or more and is averaging 157 yards a game over that stretch.

He needs to average 134 yards a game over the final three contests to have his first 2,000-yard season, but Frazier maintains Peterson is more concerned about getting the Vikings to the playoffs than his individual accomplishments.

"I'm sure he would love to achieve that personal goal, but the most important goal for him is to see this team succeed," Frazier said. "Adrian is the type of individual that if he achieves a singular award but the team fails, that's hard on him. He wants the team to be successful. That's the kind of individual he is. He's a rare superstar in that regard. He really wants the team to be successful and if that meant not achieving a 2,000-yard season but we made the playoffs, I don't think anybody on our team would be happier than Adrian Peterson."

Peterson makes no pretenses about 2,000 yards being a goal. It always has been for him, as he maintains a drive to be recognized as the best back to ever play the game. But as recently as last week, when Peterson rushed for 210 yards and the Vikings lost to division rival Green Bay, Peterson said he thought there was more he could have done to help the Vikings win.

His performance against Chicago on Sunday, rushing for 154 yards on 31 carries, left him with a career-high 31 carries. He had carried the ball 30 times twice previously, but those occurred in his first two years in the league. The Vikings' willingness to ride him for 31 rushes still less than one year removed from reconstructive knee surgery has put the "All Day" moniker back in Peterson's game.

His fullback, Jerome Felton, said Peterson's offensive teammates buy into the philosophy of trying to wear down a defense with their running game.

"We talk about it as an offense. Say we have a long drive and the defense goes and get's three-and-out, now it's like, ‘OK, it's time to impose our will on them.' Not so much what they say, but it's just you kind of feel them not filling as hard, maybe cutting instead of taking you on as a fullback," Felton said. "You kind of get that feel for the game and at that point it's time to pour it on. With the offense we have and how the line is playing and they're being physical and pounding on defenses, that all plays together and helps a lot."

The longest run of Peterson's career came on Dec. 2 against the Packers, when he faced a seven-man box with Felton in front of him and made three Packers miss before sprinting down the sideline for an 82-yard touchdown.

Two weeks before that, he had a 61-yard touchdown against Detroit in which he faced only a seven-man box, but with Felton in front again, he set up the defenders by juking inside and bursting out wide down the right sideline again.

One week prior, he faced a seven-man box at Seattle with Matt Asiata in front of him and bounced the second play from scrimmage outside before cutting back inside on his way to a 74-yard run.

And the week before that, he took a handoff with a seven-man box, went off right tackle with Felton in front, broke two arm tackles and sprinted 64 yards for a touchdown.

Teams have tried just about everything to stop him, and his runs of 50 yards or more have come in just about all conditions – on the road or at home, with Felton or Asiata in front or in a single-back set, starting to the left or to the right.

"Every week is a little bit different, but I know in order for us to be successful we need to hand the ball off to number 28 and we're going to continuously do that," Frazier said. "Whether that means a hundred-yard game or a 50-yard game, I don't know, but we're going to continuously hand it off to him."

At Peterson's pace – with 1,101 yards rushing over the last seven games – they would be foolish not to, no matter what the defense's tactics.

NOTES

  • CB A.J. Jefferson suffered a concussion against the Bears and will be evaluated throughout the week, Frazier said. If Jefferson isn't able to play, Marcus Sherels would get the start Sunday in St. Louis. Chris Cook isn't eligible to come off injured reserve (designated to return) until the Houston game the following week.

  • After working him out last week, the Vikings signed Minnesota State, Mankato TE LaMark Brown to the practice squad. The Vikings created an opening on the practice squad when they promoted OL Troy Kropog Friday after putting WR Percy Harvin on injured reserve last Wednesday.

  • DE Brian Robison on blocking Jay Cutler at the end of Harrison Smith's interception return for a touchdown Sunday: "Anytime you can throw a block, you feel like an offensive player, a fullback-type. So, I got to see what Jerome Felton felt like blocking for Adrian," Robison said, and then was reminded that Cutler might be easier to block than a well-built linebacker.

    "I think he was probably trying to get out of the way as much as he was trying to disrupt the play," Robison admitted.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"It doesn't seem anything works in trying to stop Adrian Peterson from getting explosive running plays. Against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Peterson accounted for two of the Vikings' top three longest plays and four of the top six, and it didn't matter how much the Bears tried to crowd the line of scrimmage. Peterson had rushes of 51 yards, 16, yards, 15 yards and 14 yards. Each of them came on first-and-10 plays in the first quarter, and each of them featured nine Bears defenders \"in the box\" near the line of scrimmage in the end-to-end box. Teams with a more veteran quarterback or successful running game might check out of those running plays, but with Peterson's success and a 32nd-ranked passing game, the Vikings don't seem to care. \"We really don't worry about it. You're right about that,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. \"When we put together our game plan (Tuesday) for the Rams, we're going to draw it up against eight- and nine-man fronts, anticipating it. But we also try to do some things to take advantage of that in the passing game and even in the running game. We know if we can crease them just a little bit, there is a chance for a big play because they've got so many people committed at the line of scrimmage and we've seen the results of that because of what teams are doing.\" While the Vikings took two shots deep down the field in the passing game – a second-quarter pass to Jarius Wright that was badly underthrown and intercepted, and a second-quarter pass to Devin Aromashodu in the end zone that bounced off his shoulder pad – it has been Peterson that has consistently provided the explosiveness for the offense. He has five 16 runs of 50 yards or more in his career (second only to former Lions RB Barry Sanders), and five of them have come this year. He also has a franchise-record seven consecutive games with 100 yards or more and is averaging 157 yards a game over that stretch. He needs to average 134 yards a game over the final three contests to have his first 2,000-yard season, but Frazier maintains Peterson is more concerned about getting the Vikings to the playoffs than his individual accomplishments. \"I'm sure he would love to achieve that personal goal, but the most important goal for him is to see this team succeed,\" Frazier said. \"Adrian is the type of individual that if he achieves a singular award but the team fails, that's hard on him. He wants the team to be successful. That's the kind of individual he is. He's a rare superstar in that regard. He really wants the team to be successful and if that meant not achieving a 2,000-yard season but we made the playoffs, I don't think anybody on our team would be happier than Adrian Peterson.\" Peterson makes no pretenses about 2,000 yards being a goal. It always has been for him, as he maintains a drive to be recognized as the best back to ever play the game. But as recently as last week, when Peterson rushed for 210 yards and the Vikings lost to division rival Green Bay, Peterson said he thought there was more he could have done to help the Vikings win. His performance against Chicago on Sunday, rushing for 154 yards on 31 carries, left him with a career-high 31 carries. He had carried the ball 30 times twice previously, but those occurred in his first two years in the league. The Vikings' willingness to ride him for 31 rushes still less than one year removed from reconstructive knee surgery has put the \"All Day\" moniker back in Peterson's game. His fullback, Jerome Felton, said Peterson's offensive teammates buy into the philosophy of trying to wear down a defense with their running game. \"We talk about it as an offense. Say we have a long drive and the defense goes and get's three-and-out, now it's like, ‘OK, it's time to impose our will on them.' Not so much what they say, but it's just you kind of feel them not filling as hard, maybe cutting instead of taking you on as a fullback,\" Felton said. \"You kind of get that feel for the game and at that point it's time to pour it on. With the offense we have and how the line is playing and they're being physical and pounding on defenses, that all plays together and helps a lot.\" The longest run of Peterson's career came on Dec. 2 against the Packers, when he faced a seven-man box with Felton in front of him and made three Packers miss before sprinting down the sideline for an 82-yard touchdown. Two weeks before that, he had a 61-yard touchdown against Detroit in which he faced only a seven-man box, but with Felton in front again, he set up the defenders by juking inside and bursting out wide down the right sideline again. One week prior, he faced a seven-man box at Seattle with Matt Asiata in front of him and bounced the second play from scrimmage outside before cutting back inside on his way to a 74-yard run. And the week before that, he took a handoff with a seven-man box, went off right tackle with Felton in front, broke two arm tackles and sprinted 64 yards for a touchdown. Teams have tried just about everything to stop him, and his runs of 50 yards or more have come in just about all conditions – on the road or at home, with Felton or Asiata in front or in a single-back set, starting to the left or to the right. \"Every week is a little bit different, but I know in order for us to be successful we need to hand the ball off to number 28 and we're going to continuously do that,\" Frazier said. \"Whether that means a hundred-yard game or a 50-yard game, I don't know, but we're going to continuously hand it off to him.\" At Peterson's pace – with 1,101 yards rushing over the last seven games – they would be foolish not to, no matter what the defense's tactics.
  • CB A.J. Jefferson suffered a concussion against the Bears and will be evaluated throughout the week, Frazier said. If Jefferson isn't able to play, Marcus Sherels would get the start Sunday in St. Louis. Chris Cook isn't eligible to come off injured reserve (designated to return) until the Houston game the following week.
  • After working him out last week, the Vikings signed Minnesota State, Mankato TE LaMark Brown to the practice squad. The Vikings created an opening on the practice squad when they promoted OL Troy Kropog Friday after putting WR Percy Harvin on injured reserve last Wednesday.
  • DE Brian Robison on blocking Jay Cutler at the end of Harrison Smith's interception return for a touchdown Sunday: \"Anytime you can throw a block, you feel like an offensive player, a fullback-type. So, I got to see what Jerome Felton felt like blocking for Adrian,\" Robison said, and then was reminded that Cutler might be easier to block than a well-built linebacker. \"I think he was probably trying to get out of the way as much as he was trying to disrupt the play,\" Robison admitted.
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